Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, Scene and Heard Festival 2017.
Writer and Performer: Romana Testasecca
Director: Karen Killeen
Movement Coordinators: Stephanie Dufresne
Producer: Palma Testasecca
Sound Designer: Garret Hynes
SYRIUS begins with Rasha, played by Testasecca, running in circles around the stage. We can hear her heavy breathing; there is no respite. She is wearing purple and green. As a young woman in Syria she is taking part in a peaceful protest with other women. They decided to wear wedding dresses as they reflect happiness and are as positive and nonthreatening as can be. Standing with her placard, white writing on a red background, Rasha has a wedding veil covering her face. She seems anxious and confused. Scared maybe. A speaker plays out a Syrian protest call. It isn’t long before she is imprisoned by the Assad regime. In a letter to her father she expresses her surprise at being incarcerated for standing on a street with a placard. Surely that is a totalitarian action? Finding the Syria she knew and loved is no longer Rasha tells her father she can no longer stay in the country. She hopes that the rest of her family can join her soon. She expresses the difficulty, fear and poverty of refugee camps and detention centres through her body: shoulders stooped, a constant weariness. However her tent turns into a boat sail and after seven countries and an ocean she finds herself in Portlaoise, Ireland. Here she spins with happiness arms open and free. Rasha has hope again.
Sound is used effectively throughout the performance. Her dance moves, sometimes like marching and stomping, sound out her emotions. The use of lighting, sound and movement is very strong. It is a very physical form of storytelling. If this production is developed on further it would be interesting to see how Rasha fares in her new home.
One person plays are particularly hard to pull off and Testasecca does this with aplomb. This is an excellent production telling the story of how and why a young girl would feel she has to leave her native country and family for a foreign land. If you are wary of ‘non – traditional’ theatre this might be the ideal show to see as the narrative and storytelling are so strong.
Presented by Rosebuds Theatre Company, who were last seen in All Washed Up at The New Theatre, SYRIUS runs at under 30 minutes as a part of the Scene and Heard Festival 2017.
Catch it while you can.
Runs Until 26th February 2017.
Key word: Magical