Anonymous

First Written for The Reviews Hub

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Writer: Mark Richardson

Director: Nathalie Clement

‘I am homeless. I have no name’.

For homeless men living on the streets of Dublin it can seem as though they are stripped of their identity; histories, talents and even names. Mark Richardson’s Anonymous seeks to undo this.

Dolan is new to the streets and it shows. Despite having no shoes on he is still clean and somewhat green; willing to trust in others and have faith. He opens himself up and is vulnerable when talking about how he came to be on the streets. For Dolan his life may not be a long harsh process of homelessness but for older associate Sean, it is. Sean doesn’t have friends. He doesn’t have a name either. Or at least that is what he tells people. It soon becomes clear however that he is someone others turn to for advice and comfort. Slow to talk about himself he chooses to protect himself with the invisibility that comes with being looked over hundreds of times a day. He is the self – proclaimed oldest homeless man in Dublin and knows how to survive with little else except his notebooks.

The staging and costumes are relatively simple. Rubbish and fallen leaves are bundled up in a corner. The two main characters are armed with only their backpacks, some cardboard and the items on their bodies to protect them from the elements.

Over time we learn that Sean is a poet. Some of the play is delivered in verse, and poetry is integral to the nature of Anonymous. The language used is frequently lyrical and used to underscore humorous moments. It is important to note that this play is not gloomy or self-righteous but instead has many scenes which are funny and hopeful. Which also helps to show how the homeless are still people with minds who create and value art; for themselves and for others. Can art be a way out of poverty?

There are several points of heightened emotion in the play, including the ending that could do with a little sharpening to really touch the audience. Closing with multiple curtain calls after a surprising ending Anonymous is an important and valuable play that can both entertain and touch the heart of the audience. On the streets around The International Bar people are sleeping in shop doorways and begging for money to pay for a hostel bed. It is a sobering reminder that this play draws on what is for many a way of life.

Runs until 28 January 2017 | Image: Contributed