Monday, January 13, 2020

MAZ AND BRICKS By Eva O'Connor at 59E59 Theaters

L-R: Eva O'Connor and Cieran O'Brien in MAZ AND BRICKS.  Photo by Lunaria.

No, Maz and Bricks doesn’t address the issue of the Irish “troubles” but that’s just about the only Irish theatrical mainstay theme it doesn’t touch on.  Child abuse, rape, trauma, familial estrangement, alcoholism, paternal love, depression, abortion, suicide, guilt, shame, the Catholic Church – it’s got them all.  So if you’re in the mood to see another quintessentially Irish two-hander addressing those timeless subjects, by all means get thee to 59E59 Theaters on East 59th Street in midtown Manhattan where Fishamble: The New Play Company is staging the US premiere of Eva O’Connor’s Maz and Bricks.

Surely you could do a lot worse.  The playwright (who also plays the role of Maz) may have been overly ambitious in the number of subjects she chose to take on in a single work of only 80 minutes duration but her enormous talent as both playwright and actress more than make up for any such shortcoming.  Her writing is as much poetry as prose and she employs her rhyming and rhythmic style effectively in portraying her characters’ vulnerabilities and sensitivities.

Ms O’Connor is superb as Maz, a staunch pro-choice campaigner, who meets Bricks (Ciaran O’Brien) on a tram in Dublin as she is en route to a pro-choice rally and he is going to pick up his four year old daughter to take her to the zoo.  Mr O’Brien is as terrific as Bricks as Ms O’Connor is as Maz notwithstanding the fact that, superficially at least, Bricks is about as different from Maz as one can possibly be: he doesn’t really care one way or another about abortion and, while Maz may have been traumatized by her early sexual experiences, his sole interest in life (other than his daughter) would seem to be bedding any woman who might be available.  And yet there is chemistry between them and by play’s end, by which time the two have spent a day on the tram and wandering through the streets of Dublin, we come to realize just how much more they (and, by extension, all of us) might really have in common than we ever thought.

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