UCD Dramsoc’s The Waiting Room, directed and written by Fiachra Fallon Verbruggen, is an intriguing, innovative and engaging experience, writes Patrick Kelleher.
UCD Dramsoc’s latest play continues in a tradition of experimental theatre. The Waiting Room is directed and written by Fiachra Fallon Verbruggen, and takes the form of a conversation between several people on various topics: philosophy, theology, faith and fate being a few. With its highly unusual set design, this piece is a thought-provoking, intriguing, and excellently written performance that keeps its audience riveted from start to finish during its short running time.
What is most striking upon entering the theatre is the set-design. Dramsoc utilise the freedom they have in their set designs quite often, and this is no different. The audience are led into a theatre that has the seating area closed off. Instead, the audience are encouraged to engage with and participate in the performance, by walking around to watch the actors at work. Set with only a sofa and four wooden boards, the actors move around as they commence their discussion that forms the centre of the play. They use chalk to write their ideas on the large wooden boards as the play progresses.
The greatest strength of this play is its striking set, and the way in which the audience interact with this. As those viewing have to move around constantly to see what is happening, there is a sense that nobody is seeing exactly the same play. It also keeps the audience alert to what is happening. There is no room for the audience to relax, and this technique heightens the tension of the play at its pivotal moments.
The writing is also particularly striking, the result being that this is a play that is not quite what you could expect. It is, first and foremost, a conversation; its actors deliver lines of complex dialogue that touch upon so many different ideas that it is occasionally dizzying. From Descartes to the Kinsey scale, little is left unexamined. Fallon-Verbruggen’s writing is skilful and concise, touching straight to the point with a biting lack of reservation.
The play piques in its closing moments in terms of acting, when those taking part finally get to engage in their most dramatic scenes. The closing lines of dialogue allow the actors the chance to break out from the reserved calm of the earlier discussions, and showcase all of their excellent acting talents.
The Waiting Room is further testament to the wealth of talent that exists within the arts at UCD. Different from anything that could be seen at any of the major theatres, which deal so readily with conventional theatre, this is a truly innovative show. It is the kind of work that really encourages its viewers to think strongly about it, and could easily be seen more than once in order to fully appreciate its complexity.
Another excellent addition to the repertoire of innovative theatre at UCD Dramsoc, The Waiting Room is well-worth seeing during its run at the UCD Dramsoc theatre. Fascinating, engaging and always entertaining, this play is gripping and intriguing from beginning to end.
The Waiting Room, directed and written by Fiachra Fallon Verbruggen, runs at the UCD Dramsoc theatre until Friday 27th February, at 1pm every day, and lasts approximately fifty minutes.