“This is probably one of the weirder hours of my life,” admitted Gaynor O’Flynn as she concluded a completely off-script, off-the-cuff performance (of sorts). At least she’s self-aware. Her description echoes the writer’s sentiments exactly regarding what was not in fact Time at Vault Festival.
In its official description, Time is classed as the story of a “middle-aged female cliché”. In the original, the protagonist – played by O’Flynn – uses technology to visit friends from her past. These characters, large cartoon women projected onto a screen, all appear to have it “better” than O’Flynn’s personage. Yet through her interactions with them, she somehow learns to reinvent her life. It’s an interesting concept, but one that – in the case of this particular matinee – was not delivered.
While theatregoers signed up for a piece of feminist fiction, they received something entirely different: Honesty Hour with Gaynor O’Flynn. Fed up of performing the same play over and over again, the creator and star of the abandoned Time performed instead an entirely unscripted and uncensored monologue of ideas. Her string of speech was broken up only briefly with partial statements from the digital characters of the original play and comments from engaged audience members.
Over the course of this strange hour, O’Flynn introduced personal anecdotes about her life, ticked off statistics about the gender divide within the creative arts and even sang a short rendition of an original song. Her tone remained consistently cutting and sarcasm dominated her speech. When pointing out how men dominate the tech industry and thus, also control the online algorithms that influence brain patterns, she raised the very fine question, “Would you let 99 men inside your brain?”
Due to its off-the-cuff nature, it makes sense that much of this performance felt incoherent. O’Flynn’s strands of thoughts and words often diverged from one another in disordered pieces, without much fluidity or eloquence. Having said this, her overall sentiment remained clear. Within the hour-long deviation from usual programming, O’Flynn expressed tangible frustration with the lack of female voices in the creative industries, particularly women of a certain age – she herself is 59.
Not having seen Time in its fictional format, no feedback can truly be given on the play of that same name. What O’Flynn did on this day was a performance in its own right. However, it seems safe to say that anyone expecting a performance of Time would have been fairly disappointed in this particular show.
Time is at The Vaults as part of Vault Festival from 7th March 2023 until 12th March 12 2023. For further information, visit here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.