The Trailer of Bridget Dinnigan @ The Project Arts Centre

July 11, 2010


Dylan Tighes’s latest project, co- written with Catherine Joyce, is The House of Bernada Alba updated and relocated to a present day Irish halting site. Renamed The Trailer of Bridget Dinnigan it was produced in association with the Blancherstown Traveler’s Development Group and featured a cast of twenty inexperienced traveler women who retain their own first names in a production that’s only liberty is to turn the feuding sisters into cousins.

With no training, formal or otherwise, prior to this run the women did well in delivering their lines, hitting their marks and some etched out credible characters. Bridget Dinnegan and Missy Ann Collins as the titular character and her mother deserve particular credit.

My one complaint was that neither the women on the stage nor the people in the audience seemed to get the tragedy of the piece, its devastating conclusion washed away in floods of laughter and corpsing onstage. Truth be told, up until the end when I started to question what exactly every one was laughing at, it was a pleasure to be part of an audience that engaged and reacted spontaneously rather than by how they thought they should be seen reacting. But in the end what should have been a very powerful piece of theatre was merely a curious one.

The productions one clear triumph is its script. Tighe and Joyce havedone a
magnificent job at updating Garcia Lorca’s play for the Irish stage,it manages to be faithful to the original yet also intensely Irish. It’s incredibly funny yet incredibly dark simple yet effective, providing an insight into the traveling community- their codes, psyches, ambitions and traditions- whilst avoiding stereotype and condescension. When this is performed to professional standards, with professional actors, it is going to be devastating.

Perhaps if more artists engaged the communities they were representing in their art, if funding was made available to facilitate such long-term communication and interactivity between artist and minority, the perceived locked doors of the theatre would be opened not only to performers but to punters as well.

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