The play “Stones in His Pockets” by Marie Jones was absolutely amazing. As I read the play, I thought it would be impossible for two men to play 15 roles in an on stage reenactment, but they pulled it off magnificently. The ability to switch in and out of different characters mind sets was what caught my attention and brought me the greatest amazement. With just having two characters alone throughout the entire play made it a memorable experience and performance.
The two main characters in the play are Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn. They are extra’s in a movie production that is coming straight from Hollywood. The whole play is based upon a movie within a movie. Marie Jones uses this concept to create a different prospective of the “natives” from a few different views and how they are influenced by Americans. Hollywood filmmakers tend to relocate their productions into rural areas that are not fond of American values and morals. This is where Ireland comes into play. The filmmakers while they are there are looked upon as a nuisance. Although, the natives are thrilled to be around stars such as Caroline Giovanni, they suffer. They are walked all over and taken advantage of. The filmmakers install fake dreams and unrealistic ideals into the natives.
The tow Irishmen are caught in frenzy. Charlie has his own playwright that he carries around in his back pocket, hoping that one day he too will become a well known and successful Hollywood movie maker. Jake on the other hand is infatuated with Caroline Giovanni, until he sees a different side of her. She is the “typical” movie star. She feels that in order to do her job she must invade people’s lives and try to act like them. By her wanting to do this she insults the community. She thinks that their lives are simple, beautiful, and peaceful compared to hers. Little does she realize all the hardships, until one day when a “wanna-be” extra commits suicide. His name was Sean Harkin.
In the local pub, Sean approaches Caroline and her entourage. Sean was simply asking her for a part in the movie. Without hesitation Caroline blew him off as if he didn’t exist. Not being able to cope with the let down, he commits suicide. He fills his pockets with stones and drowns himself in the river. This is where the title of the play comes from. Not wanting to go over budget, the filmmakers must decide whether to let the natives or extra’s attend the funeral and extend the shooting. Being this inconsiderate to the community, the pressure builds.
Wanting to expose Hollywood, Charlie and Jake decide to write and make their own movie on the whole ordeal of Sean Harkin. However, the make believe movies of Hollywood have little to do with the real-life drama of the poverty stricken villagers and it is their story that is told on stage. This is what the play focuses on.
In my review of the play I feel that the characters were portrayed well. Although, at first the switching of the characters was hard to follow, as the play went on, the two men were easier to follow. I watched two separate characters playing 15 roles split into 15 different actors. I feel they did a great job, although real natives of Ireland would have been better. In saying this, mind you that I am being sarcastic!
They made every character personality very distinct. Whether it be by a flicking of a hand, slow gracious movement, or a really obnoxious high pitched voice. The staging was perfect as were the actors. Although, only a few jackets and hats were worn, the characters stood apart from one another. I will admit although, if I hadn’t read the play before seeing the performance I would have been lost in translation. One might say that Aisling was a “stereotypical” gay man if they hadn’t read the playwright. So, I feel they could have incorporated more background information on the characters.
Overall, I was very impressed by the play. If I had to rate it with the star system it would be a strong 4.25. It was very well done and rehearsed. The actors were on point and brought a clear understanding of the natives and how their lives were misunderstood by the outsiders. I would definitely go see this play again. Although, I feel that children under the age of 13 should not attend unless accompanied by a parent for the vulgar language, but it did make the play all that more believable and enjoyable!