Tryst, Vault Festival – Review

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L-R: Clodagh Mooney Duggan, Katie McCann and Finbarr Doyle / © Ste Murray

Sex doesn’t count… if you only remember some of it… if it was with a friend… if you failed to call the person back to have more sex. The list of excuses for what DOESN’T constitute as ‘proper’ or ‘meaningful’ sex is endless. When they’re used, however, it’s often by the party that tries to downplay its significance or impact…

Written by Jeda de Brí and Finbarr Doyle, and directed by Jeda de Brí, Tryst explores the ramifications of ‘going with the flow’ and the aftermath of one’s feelings.

11-14-2018-133806-9077 - resize 1Stephanie (Katie McCann) and Matt (Finbarr Doyle) are a 20-something couple who are engaged and have less than a week until their wedding. Easing their way into the day one Sunday morning, mutual friend Rachel (Clodagh Mooney Duggan) pops around to visit them. After the initial ‘ice-breaker’ conversation, Rachel reveals the true purpose of her visit – news that threatens the impending nuptials.

The audience may think it has an inkling about what to expect, but as the ‘incident’ is discussed, it becomes evident that the ‘truth’ in the play is subjective with all having persuasive arguments for why the others were to blame for what happened.

To go into more detail about the ‘revelations’ would spoil the surprises, but it’s interesting that as more ‘facts’ surface, the onus of ‘who is more responsible’ shifts back and forth. At the core of this play though is Stephanie and Matt’s opinion of Rachel and vice versa, and how that dovetailed into the chain of events that transpired.

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Interestingly, the estrangement that arises between Stephanie and Rachel stems not from broken trust or sense of awkwardness, but because of Stephanie’s assessment of Rachel’s life – right-wing in spirit, if not in exact phrasing. Supposedly, Rachel has ‘only herself to blame for the way her life’s turned out’, while Stephanie’s ‘success’ with her career and relationships is all of her own making. At the other end of the spectrum, there are overtures between Matt and Stephanie to The Handmaid’s Tale, with coaxed complicity at the root of their ‘open relationship’…

Truth is often touted as a virtue, but if this play shows us anything, it’s that honesty is a commodity that is seldom-valued from others – and often in short supply with oneself.

© Michael Davis 2019

Tryst runs at the Vault Festival until 17th February.

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