Nicola Lyons once again lurks towards the LG stage to find out what’s going on.
‘Professor Taranne’ by Arthur Adamov was the play of choice for this year’s DramSoc Co-Op, bringing together the best of both the society’s freshest faces and more experienced members.
This funny and dark absurdist play explores the importance we often place upon our own identity and individuality, or maybe what’s grasping at straws and its simply a play about a professor who gets a kick out of indecent exposure? Who knows?
Even Gerald Adlum, the play’s director, admits he genuinely “hasn’t a clue” what the play’s about, but believes that what’s more important is “how you feel when watching it, and what, if anything, you might think about when its over”. Well, there’s certainly no denying the fact that this play is both thought and conversation-provoking.
When we are first introduced to the Professor he is in a police station attempting to defend himself against charges of stripping-off in front of a group of children at the beach. It’s clear from the professor’s long blustering monologues as he protests his innocence that this is a man with very high opinions of himself.
He insists that he couldn’t possibly be guilty of such a crime as he is the famous and celebrated Professor Taranne, only recently returned from lecturing in Belgium. However, he is unable to prove either his identity or his innocence, ironically the only woman who recognizes him thinks he is Taranne’s colleague, Professor Ménard.
It’s from this point that this play grows more and more surreal and Taranne, under the influence of the eccentric characters surrounding him, grows increasingly paranoid and unhinged. The nightmare worsens as Taranne finds himself unable to read his own handwriting and is accused of littering his beach cabin as well as plagiarising Professor Ménard’s research.
Finbar Doyle and Colm Kenny-Vaughan strike a fantastic balance between being absolutely hilarious and downright scary, playing the bizarre policemen who interrogate the Professor. While Sam McGovern effortlessly embraced the title role as the conceited and straight-laced Professor Taranne, he has to be applauded for having the (excuse the pun, I couldn’t resist) ‘balls’ to ‘bare all’ at the plays dramatic conclusion when the professor finally ‘cracks’ up.
Or does he?