Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

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An abortion rights rally has erupted in Dublin, and its sights and sounds are all over the place: an impassioned hand-inked protest signal; a demonstrator’s face, etched with rage; the noise of an agitated crowd. However the vivid depiction of activism is only one eloquent factor in Irish playwright Eva O’Connor’s character-rich two-hander “Maz & Bricks.”

Centered on an interesting, twisty odd-couple relationship, and ingeniously infused with broader glimpses of Irish society, the play muses on loss, resilience and the difficulty of abortion in a method that feels each sharp and symphonic — qualities deftly underscored on this well timed staging from Solas Nua.

Director Rex Daugherty’s manufacturing unfurls on scenic designer Nadir Bey’s easy but evocative set, whose graffiti-scrawled surfaces and old school streetlight bulbs recommend an previous metropolis seething with trendy passions. Maz (performed by Emily Kester), an indignant and traumatized younger lady, provides to these passions when she attends a “Repeal the eighth” rally, opposing an modification to the Irish structure that successfully prohibited abortion. (The modification was repealed in 2018.)

When Maz crosses paths with the flippant, roguish Bricks (Jonathan Feuer), who has little interest in her trigger, the encounter initially has a meet-cute vibe. However as the 2 set up a rapport, generally joking and empathizing, generally sparring fiercely, the story deepens. Alongside the way in which, the toll of the nation’s abortion ban turns into more and more clear.

This situation may have veered too near a political parable or registered as touchy-feely, however Maz and Bricks are too satisfyingly idiosyncratic to look like gadgets. Their distinctiveness reveals itself not solely in dialogue but additionally in asides and monologues whose drive and verbal aptitude evokes spoken-word poetry. Whether or not interacting or riffing solo, the effective Solas Nua actors deftly capitalize on each their characters’ specificity and the heightened language. Kester’s Maz, a rebellious-looking determine with pink-streaked hair, radiates woundedness and brooding rage. Feuer’s grieving but animated Bricks talks about desirous to converse with wasps (“I’d be like … lads, why all this anger, this terrorism? Take a leaf outta the bees’ e book and chill.”).

As if to underscore the characters’ roiling feelings and the rally’s heated environment, the actors generally deploy stylized actions, together with abrupt arm isolations. (Ashleigh King is the choreographer, and Daugherty, co-choreographer). The dance-like movement works fantastically on the play’s climax, conveying peril and cinematic sweep. However at different instances, the stylized gestures are distracting.

Expressionistic motion is definitely not wanted as a pace-changing mechanism, since O’Connor’s script supplies a lot selection. Along with their time on the protest, Maz and Bricks go to a high-end chocolate store, hang around at a bar and crash a bachelorette occasion. Add flashbacks, and this 80-minute play opens an impressively sweeping social vista — one which illuminates its portrayal of each a third-rail political concern and an inconceivable relationship.

Maz & Bricks, by Eva O’Connor. Directed by Rex Daugherty; scenic design/technical director, Nadir Bey; lighting, Helen Garcia-Alton; sound, Gordon Nimmo-Smith; assistant producer/dramaturge/costume stylist, Charlotte La Nasa. About 80 minutes. Via June 26 at Atlas Performing Arts Middle, 1333 H St. NE. solasnua.org.

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