Silent is a one man tour de force, written and performed by acclaimed Irish actor Pat Kinevane. Kinevane, his director and friend Jim Cullerton, in association with Fishamble: the New Play Company is presenting his play in Melbourne after a highly successful season in Ireland and the UK. He won a Fringe First Award and Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011 and the Argus Angel Award in Brighton 2012. He is the author of the acclaimed ‘Forgotten‘ – also a one man show – and a BBC Stewart Parker Trust Award in 1998 for his play ‘The Nun’s Wood’.
“Tino McGoldrig, the central character of Silent, has a story to tell. Once enjoying wealth and status, he is now homeless and sometimes close to despair.
He is essentially a happy-go-lucky, even a charming character. He has been greatly influenced by his beloved Grandmother, a huge fan of Rudolph Valentino, the ‘matinee idol’ of the silent film era, naming her own son, Valentine, after him. He in turn called his son Valentino or ‘Tino, for short. But ‘Tino carries a terrible burden of shame. He believes he failed hopelessly to support his gay brother, driven to suicide by the relentless taunts of the small town community where they grew up. In particular he bitterly resents the role his virago of a mother played in his brother’s demise. But while the circumstances of his life are bleak, there is nothing grim about the telling of his story.
Eschewing conventional theatrical dramatic monologue form, Kinevane weaves ‘Tino’s story using the unusual and challenging demands of the silent film era, specifically the cinematic qualities of the RudolphValentino silent films – exaggerated actions, innate humour, cathartic plot resolution.
This makes Silent a highly visual, filmic piece of theatre, in effect transferring the silent film format to the theatrical stage. As in silent movies, movement dominates, from dance to high voltage actions, to stillness, to gestures, exaggerated and subtle, all encompassing the physicality the form demands. The story telling is further enhanced by Kinevane’s use of his ‘wildly expressive visage’ with an emphasis on the glittering eyes of the actor, so essential to the dramatic appeal of the silent film. Sets and costumes are minimalist, the use of lighting creating the world of homelessness in which ‘Tino lives out his dysfunctional life.
However Kinevane does not rely on intertitles to convey the spoken word! ‘Tino’s story is told in a ‘wistful and lyrical’ monologue, which includes ‘dark humour and poignant observation’. A creative and inventive soundscape reinforces the poetic nuances of the script and highly charged, movement.
By using the devices of silent film, Kinevane believes that he is better able to provide insights about the big themes of the play – homelessness, depression, homophobia. It also enables the audience to see what is going on in both the character’s conscious life as well as inside his head. ‘Tino’ s homelessness is not his only tragedy. He carries a back catalogue of disasters, a mind in disarray, subconscious memories which the audience can discern but which trigger roller-coaster mood swings in ‘Tino’s character. Yet humour is an essential element in both the spoken script and the non-verbal activities of the play.
It is important to Kinevane that his audiences have an enjoyable, even interactive, if sometimes challenging experience of this theatrical production. There can be no doubt that Silent promises to deliver!
Presented by Fishamble: The New Play Company
Produced by Marketa Dowling
Playwright and Performer: Pat Kinevane
Director: Jim Culleton
Performances of ‘Silent’
7:30pm Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th February
2:00pm Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th February
Southbank Theatre, The Lawler
140 Southbank Boulevard. Southbank
Concession (PSSU) $35.00
Concession (PSSU) $30.00
PromotionU30 Promotion $33.00 Cap at 20 per performance