Monday 16 December 2019

Review: Factory 2

O'Reilly Theatre, Dublin

Adam Nawojczyk performing in 'Factory 2' at the O'Reilly Theatre in Belvedere College, as part of Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival
Adam Nawojczyk performing in 'Factory 2' at the O'Reilly Theatre in Belvedere College, as part of Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival

COLIN MURPHY

WE entered the theatre at 3.30pm, and left at 11pm. It was all in Polish. The translation, in scrolling titles on a screen, often didn't work. There was no obvious plot. It was about Andy Warhol's Factory in 1960s New York.

The play started with the actors insulting a member of the audience, who promptly walked out.

It was sometimes unclear when the actors were playing characters, and when they were themselves. It wasn't very clear whether it was actually set in 1960s New York, or in present-day Poland.

For much of the six hours of theatre, we watched these people watching themselves on a big screen. The film on the screen was grainy, shot live with digital cameras. The films were of improvisations, or incidental footage.

So we watched actors watching themselves playing characters who were ostensibly not acting. Around it all crept the character of Andy Warhol, interjecting occasionally.

Quotes from him, and other characters, suggested themselves as motifs for the play: "An artist shouldn't explain anything, it's sacrilege"; "I have no use for sense -- more sense means it'll be worse" (Warhol).

Yet despite the length, and the ambiguity, 'Factory 2', created by the grand master of Polish theatre Krystian Lupa, is more often beguiling than bewildering.

Many of its scenes are beautiful. The acting has an extraordinary quality of truth and immediacy.

And the story eventually emerges with shocking clarity: it is a tale of vulnerability, and of the desperate search for art, and for love, by flawed idealists. This Factory is a challenging, but enlightening, place to spend some time.

Irish Independent

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