Declan at The Actors Centre online
Many theatre companies and institutions are reviving productions from their archives at this time, to the delight of audience members who missed the shows first time around. There has now been enough time since lockdown began, however, for some artists to create new work in spite of the many limitations. Declan is a one-man show written and performed by Alistair Hall. It was put on hold due to the pandemic, and is due to be performed live later this year. As the theatre industry is at a standstill and the future of many venues is at risk, this piece has been selected to be streamed online this week to help raise funds.
Directed by Alexis Gregory, the play is described as a contemporary ghost story and it relates the experiences of a young man, named Jimbo, whose best friend Declan disappears. The piece is filmed in an empty studio with a few props scattered around, including a microwave and a trash bag. Jimbo remembers his deceased mother and recounts experiences linked to Declan, from their first meeting to the day his friend vanished. It is clear that loss and lack of support have had a traumatic effect on the character, and he hides this behind a high-pitched tone of voice and an attitude of perpetual excitement.
A tale of reality merging into visions and vivid memories haunting the present, the 25-minute piece is a well-formed brief journey into the mind of the protagonist, and the supernatural touch adds something to the story. Overall, it’s not so captivating. This is perhaps not the most striking production to help attract audiences when so many theatre professionals are looking for support at the same time. Nevertheless, it’s a work that touches on important themes and it supports an organisation that has provided help and valuable opportunities for actors for over 40 years.
Image: Luke Scoular