Frances Winston recently attended the Dublin Fringe Festival 2017, and found How To Be Angry well-paced, well-written and well-acted
With a title like How To Be Angry, you just know that this piece is going to be relatable. After all, there is nobody who can honestly say that they haven’t ever felt anger over something. This plays on that, taking scenarios that many of us will recognise, and presenting them in an abstract way, to try and find a formula for this most complex of feelings.
The stage is sparse and setting, atmosphere, and mood are all controlled by lighting (and a rather fab disco ball!). Therefore it is up to the actors to use their physicality to convey to us what is going on. The abstract form of this piece allows them to really step out of their comfort zone and explore their full range of movement, and you can see the physical energy that each is expending on stage. Since anger is such a heightened feeling, this begins with a huge energy that never really dissipates.
While each individual scenario has its merits, this is such a mammoth and complex subject that the 45 minute running time means they don’t always get a chance to breathe. Many of these snippets could actually be fully-fledged standalone plays, and at times you feel a bit short-changed when the action suddenly shifts elsewhere.
That aside, for such a serious topic, this has some wonderfully humorous moments, and will definitely raise more than a few laughs. The writing is excellent, and it is wonderfully paced. The character observations are spot on – we’ve all known people like those featured – and the actors do a great job making each role they play completely distinct.
Even if you think you are not a fan of abstract theatre, this draws you in. Its energy is infectious, and it certainly gives you plenty to think about afterwards.
How to be Angry ran at the Smock Alley Theatre, 6-7 Exchange Street Lower, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, 19-23 September last.