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Anna in Dublin – ANU Production of ‘Of the Mouth of Flowers’ at Dublin City Hall

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Anna here! This week I was absolutely buzzing to get the opportunity to see ANU Productions perform ‘Of the Mouth of Flowers’ at Dublin City Hall. I am a huge theater fan and actually studied Drama Performance at the TU Dublin Conservatoire so this was right up my alley!

The production was developed as part of the Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme and commemorates the lying in state of Arthur Griffith and Micheal Collins in the building back in August of 1922. ANU Productions are known for their immersive site specific performances but this production brought it to a whole new level. To be sat in the same building almost exactly 100 years later experiencing history unfold right in front of you was absolutely harrowing.

The piece was written by Robbie O’Connor and Louise Lowe and was divided into two segments. The first took place in the main atrium with Robbie O’Connor playing Sean T. O’Kelly and Michael Glenn as Arthur Griffith.

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Immediately you feel the gravity of the piece as you step into an alcove with a ring of chairs and a coffin with the tricolour draped over it. You are left sitting there in silence for a few minutes until Robbie O’Connor makes his entrance by starting his long walk into the space through the atrium to the sound of a death knell. I must say it was one of the most cinematic moments I have ever experienced in a live performance. The echo of his footsteps was just breathtaking.

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Michael Glenn’s character needed no introduction as he was the image of Arthur Griffith. It was eerie listening to the two characters argue in the vast hall with the echo bouncing back at us. It meant any moments of silence became very powerful.

We were then very smoothly directed towards a waiting area across the atrium where we were greeted by Úna Kavanagh as Hannie Collins and Jamie O’Neill as Ned Breslin and I have to say this section of the piece really took it for me. There was a short exchange between the two characters where we discover that Hannie is here to see her brother’s body and she (as well as the audience) is led up to a room with a large wooden table and instructed to sit around it and wait.

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As an audience member I really felt as if I was part of the scene as the two characters discussed the circumstances around the death of Micheal Collins. Each character had their time alone with the audience where they talked to us about how they were feeling. Both actors were phenomenal but Úna Kavanagh’s performance is one that will stay with me for a long time. My eyes weren’t dry for long and myself and my friend Eoin sat in silence the entire bus ride home just trying to process what we had seen.

I go to a lot of theatre and in recent years we have seen a lot of productions commemorating the centenaries starting all the way back in 2016 with celebrations around the Easter Rising. I have seen so many and even been in a couple myself that I find I have become oversaturated hearing the same stories about the same characters, year after year. However, this production brought our history to life for me in a way that no other production has and I really look forward to seeing what’s up next for the Council’s Decade of Centenaries Programme.

For more information and for events like this check out their website here

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