By: Walter Ruff
Pig and Runt, two club kids growing up in Cork, Ireland have a lot to say–and for the most part they say it through their actions and emotions rather than dialog that one can readily understand. In fact they have developed a special language they share in their own private world. Like relationships in real life, it’s sometimes one’s actions that speak louder than words. We grow up believing in the power of friendship—the love, trust, and bonds we create and nurture over time seem indestructible. Sadly, however, these very elements are able to explode in what seems like seconds. This is what Pig and Runt discover as they shared their seventeenth birthday dancing, crashing and fighting in Cork’s underbelly. Pig is a violent and extremely emotional young man–seemingly a poster child for childhood mental health counseling. He is always ready to fight for his self assigned cause. Runt is his security blanket; he wraps himself in her and refuses to let go. She is the careless, happy club girl and seems oblivious to Pig’s growing sexual desires and revels in the wild birthday joy ride. Yet, she knows she wants more from life and wants eventually to distance herself from Pig’s increasingly violent outbursts. . These best friends and “partners-in-crime” who share almost everything the closest comrades possibly can, soon find that friends never love one each other equally and friendships rarely are forever.
I have only one minor issue with the production; in the beginning I had a difficult time getting past the more than obvious difference between the age of the characters and those of the actors portraying them. I say this only to reassure the audience member that as the play progresses it becomes much less of an issue. The bare set design and strobe lighting effects work perfectly in an effort to keep one’s focus on the interaction between Pig and Runt. The sound design was tight and crisp and costuming appropriate for the characters; I still chuckle to myself when I think of Pig’s “No U2” tee. The play won the Best Fringe Production Award at the 1996 Dublin Festival and played the 1997 Edinburgh Festival. It has since been translated into a dozen languages. The direction by Eric Lucas is flawless, for Disco Pigs he directed two of his cast-mates from Scena Theatre’s production of The Lonesome West, Linda Murray (Runt) and Dan Brick (Pig). Disco Pigs is Linda and Dan’s third onstage collaboration. Playwright Enda Walsh is one of Ireland’s most respected playwrights. He is the writer-in-residence for Cork based theatre company, Corcadorca, and has written several plays for them, including Disco Pigs. His other works include Misterman, Bedbound and The Small Things. A Pondlife his newest work was written for the Cork 2005 European City of Culture. Disco Pigs is the kind of play that grows on you long after leaving the theatre. Like most of the things in life we savor, it’s even better the next day.
DISCO PIGS AT CHURCH STREET THEATER runs June 26th through July 27th Sundays at 7pm, Monday through Wednesday at 8pm ). Tickets are $17.50 general admission and $13.50 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at www.solasnua.org or 202.595.1760 or at the door. Review at Curtian Up Review at Potomac Stages The City Paper Review