Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I suppose in retrospect Sive is an all-too predictable tale of what happens when money clouds judgment, but John B. Keane's 1959 drama caught me entirely by surprise. I was so blinded by the overblown antics of the matchmaker Thomasheen Sean Rua (Patrick Fitzgerald) that I genuinely believed that the young lover, Liam (Mark Thornton) would rush in at the last moment to save Sive (Wrenn Schmidt) from her marriage to the old, rich Sean Dota (Christopher Joseph Jones). Or that Sive's Nanna (Terry Donnelly) would manage to convince Uncle Mike (Aidan Redmond) to follow his heart. Or that Mena (Fiana Toibin), Sive's step-aunt and Mike's wife, would get past her stubborn resentment of her ward's comparative freedom and not cruelly condemn her to a life without love. And I had every cause to believe: save for the one-dimensionally written Thomasheen, Keane's play is a long struggle of convictions, customs, and character, and there were many well-paced moments of hope. Ultimately, I was emotionally blindsided by Ciaran O'Reilly's steady direction, and then forced to linger in tears by some terrifically human performances out of Mr. Thornton and Mr. Redmond (and the two somewhat jokey musicians, played by Donie Carroll and James Barry).