On Friday evening I had the pleasure of seeing Teac Damsa’s Production of Loch Na Heala (Swan Lake). If you haven’t heard of it, it is and Irish take on the tale of swan lake, with an Irish myth and a true story also mixed into the plot. It was presented by UMS in the Power Center for two nights only, this past Friday and Saturday.
I was encouraged to go see it for one of my classes and I am so glad I did. I managed to get one of only 2 student tickets left for Friday night, which was exciting. Going into the theatre I only knew that it was a take on swan lake and that it had good reviews. But what I actually saw was much different than expected.
For probably the first half of the 75 minute show, I thought I was going to leave the theatre with a sense of disappointment in not liking it. It started in such a strange way, that I’m still not sure what it was supposed to mean. But perhaps that was point.
But as the show continued, things began to click. It turns out that the show deals greatly with themes of abuse and mental illness, and is very raw in its portrayal of each. The sparse set and small cast, many playing multiple personas, was to the shows advantage. It allowed you to hone in on those themes, and to truly see the beautiful dances performed by the cast.
Though the themes were quite dark, it managed to end with an incredible scene of catharsis. At the end of the show, the audience immediately stood up without a pause for a standing ovation, and clapped for so long that the cast had to come back out on stage three times to bow before it died down and people started to leave.
As I left, I couldn’t stop thinking about the show. It was beautiful, haunting, at times disturbing, but mainly it was something different and unique. It wasn’t some American tour of a famous broadway show. It was a work of passion for these dancers and choreographers and they were able to create something that people of all ages and backgrounds seemed to love, despite the themes that are still hardly talked about in today’s society.
That is what this is a reminder of. If you have a story, you can tell it your own way. People will listen. People will care.
Theatre can do this for some people.
And this is the kind of theatre I want to create as a theatre artist.