Review: Gare St. Lazare Players – Title and Deed

Written by Will Eno and directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett, Title and Deed, starring Conor Lovett, gets it’s world premiere in Kilkenny’s Barnstorm Theatre.

On Before

When you flick through the festival programme, the piece on Title and Deed doesn’t look like the most entertaining way to spend an hour or so.  ‘Here before you stands a man, recently arrived…’ and then you drift off, maybe comparing it to ponydance’s promo for Anybody Waitin’?, on the page opposite. There’s also this really weird tattoo? But I have seen enough of this year’s festival, and of Tom Creed’s Theatre and Dance strand from the past two years that I really should have known better.

On Being Personal

Whatever you’re expecting from Title and Deed: Nope. It’s not there. Probably not anyway. What I expected, I didn’t get (see above), but it was still better than I had dreamed. Conor Lovett plays a man, a man who saunters onstage in a lovely wooly jumper and starts to talk about the journey he had to take to get here physically, then starts to tell  us stories about where he comes from, in every sense of the term. The stories he tells will provoke different responses and thoughts in everyone who goes to see it. Below lies one of mine.

On Customs

Whenever he talked about his country and their customs and traditions, like holding a parade for any occasion under the sun, good or bad, he would ask us ‘Do you have anything like this here?’. Truthfully, I am incredibly jealous of the custom of even having customs. For example, he told us that when the men had found their intended, they would rent a musical instrument that they could not play (the cello was very popular, although our guide chose the tuba) and would play this instrument that they could not play extremely badly while their intended lover would lean out of the window of their new house and try to dance and sing along. And then he asked ‘Do you have anything like this here?’ and I found it so sad, really really sad that we don’t have any sort of custom to celebrate love (apart from marriage, but that’s not the point). We don’t celebrate things. You could say we have parties for birthdays and anniversaries and other such occasions, but there’s no real joy, especially when you can’t remember most of it the next morning.

A Last Note

The night after I saw it, at our Red Square Top Secret Ultra-Exclusive meeting, we were discussing the show and one member who hadn’t been able to see it asked me ‘Is it anything like Group Therapy for One by THEATREclub last year?’ And the answer is – well, kind of. The wonderful Shane from THEATREclub uses himself to talk about everyone, while our lovely man from Title and Deed uses his home to talk about everyone. It’s not the same thing, but almost.

Eleanor

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