Dramsoc’s latest is a play with which even the most arrogant amongst us can empathise. Written by Robin Oree and directed by Katie Ann McDonough and John Kelly, it tells the tale of a normal, if rather naïvely eccentric guy, played by Niall Lane, and his two brief (and in his mind), impossibly meaningful encounters with bicycle girl, played by Grace Mc Kiernan.
The play opens to the rhythm of The Beatles She Loves You, accompanied by the inimitable sight of Kelly’s dancing and air guitar, all under the watchful eye of Captain Picard’s cardboard cut out (a curiously underused focus in the play considering the title). The set is simple – its armchair, rug, table and book blend into the background as the story of obsession and fallacy unfolds in a rift of humorous monologue. The opening proves believable, and does what any such scene must, draw in its audience. I am sitting in the third row from the back, but feel as if there could be 30 full rows behind me.
As laughter filled the auditorium, Kelly grew increasingly comfortable on stage in his role as a sort of Ferris Bueller in reverse. A bell dings and the spin of a bicycle wheel announces the entrance of bicycle girl, the object of guy’s fresh born ‘love’. An excellent spout of swearing immediately endears the character to the audience, which only proves testament to the performance of McDonough for engineering a reversal in the audience’s opinion of her character as the plot develops. The character does what it must without ever reaching the heights of her co-conspirator.
Reminiscent of many ‘romances’ we have all at some stage lured ourselves into believing existed, guy proceeds to make the grandest of grand speeches to win the heart of the girl on the bike who cycled towards him with destiny in her eyes. Many of us have been caught up in similar tides of unrelenting optimism and hope, just as we have all been unceremoniously dragged from such heights, often by a few simple words. In the case of guy, the bullet comes in the form of one word “boyfriend”, spoken with the casual ignorance that is often know to crash upon us, revealing our own foolishness.
Losing the girl we’ve never had, believing what never was, living in unconscious ignorance of the feelings of others. The play may be delved in humour competently carried off by the actors, however, a message lingers when the dark rows of the theatre have been left behind – Pity and Fear. In the final monologue, a broken guy cries, “you can’t just turn the hot water off… you don’t treat people like that.” Perhaps we are being treated in such a manner; perhaps we are treating others just in this way. The short plays heavy lightness is what sets it apart.