Conor McPherson’s Port Authority, in this production by Decadent Theatre, concerns itself with the ordinary lives of three Dublin men of varying ages. These men find themselves recalling experiences in their lives, times in which they were held back by fear. These are tales of loss and love, and of love lost without ever really being gained.
Occupying a sparse, dimly-lit stage, the action in Port Authority occurs only through the stories told by these three men. Speaking directly to the audience, each individual creates a vivid picture of their lives, speaking of family life in simpler times, the obnoxious affluence of the boom times and the madness and freedom of youth.
Carl Kennedy’s exuberant Kevin is the everyman, the young lad we all know, but behind his relaxed demeanour lies feelings of fear and powerlessness surrounding his path in his life.
Phelim Drew is fantastic in the role of Dermot, in what is a physical performance seething with anger and fear, raucous humour and bitter regret.
Garrett Keogh playing Joe, does a wonderful job of representing a man of an older generation, firm in his beliefs and ideals of what is right and wrong, yet ultimately struggling with his own feelings.
It would do a disservice to the entire production to suggest that one performance is more stand-out than another. All three actors perfectly encapsulate their characters, from the tiny physical characteristics that betray their age to the moments of raw emotion and truth.
The sparse setting and direction creates an intimacy and closeness with the audience while McPherson’s rich use of language and colloquial phrases helps each character carve out their own unique voice.
It is true that these are ordinary lives and experiences but Port Authority is never mundane. It is also no tragedy, finding acceptance and humour in these universal experiences.
by Cara Groome Travers