Hair messily pinned up, wearing lumpy sweats, Eva begins by opining about mustard. Dropping two shopping bags full of different brands of the condiment, she launches, “We have sex. Good, hard, satisfying sex. Sex that hurts in all the right places…rough sex, I suppose you’d call it…sex that is never over quite fast and doesn’t make me come, which is all right- tonight is about getting back together.” 11 months, 3 weeks and a day since “he” threw her out, he calls. “His voice is like warm water.” She gets on a plane, a train, two buses and goes back to the “stunning boy” sure he’ll “pop the question.” Then tells us the backstory.
The two meet at a club. The evening is wild, unexpected. Finding “a spark in me outside the Irish bog,” he takes her to his elaborate Crouch End home, a canopy of expensive bicycles hanging from the ceiling. They “cancel everything and ride each other silly…My mind goes to mustard…There’s no down on the knee proposal, more of a slip/slide into, you’re here you might as well stay.” In time, he trains more and looks at her less. And brings another woman home. “I feel like a gutted fish.”
Wait- you say, the mustard. Your guess is as good as mine. It keeps coming up. Suffering impotent pain, Eva buys out every grocery in the neighborhood, strips to practical, flesh-colored lingerie, and slathers herself with it in a kiddie pool. He finds Eva that way and tells her to be gone. Her mum comes to collect the distraught young woman, taking her back to Ireland and The Christian Ladies Stitching Group.”Oh Pet, you’re not well.” Description of time there is authentic.
Author Eva O’Connor writes well. She’s vivid, specific, poetic, and raunchy. The heroine unspools in front of us, though life must’ve been tenuous and depressive before. Passion and need run tandem with naivete. Everything is histrionic. The scenario would be relatable were it not unremittingly delivered like a mad scene out of Shakespeare or Euripides. Director Hildegrand Ryan robs the play of humanity and strains interest.
O’Connor speaks well and briefly, deftly, inhabits peripheral characters. She moves heavily in character. Her focus is consummate. Staging is imaginative. A clothesline stretched across the stage first binds, then reverts to natural use with cloth hung on it (indicating domesticity) which is later employed to wash off mustard. ‘An evocative visual.
Things turn out badly. Eva gets revenge. But the mustard…?!
Written and Acted by Eva O’Connor
Directed by Hildegrand Ryan
The 13th Annual Origin First Irish Theatre Festival – Online
Recorded Theatre Productions, Films, and Documentaries, Panels, and Talks and Special Events.
Photo courtesy of Fishamble