Deirdre Kinahan’s These Halcyon Days, which opened to great reviews at last year’s Dublin Theatre Festival, and has just finished a successful run in New York, comes to the Civic Theatre this July.
Patricia, struggling to come to terms with her recent relocation to a nursing home, inserts herself into the life of fellow resident, Seán. She brings music, laughter and memory with her, and tentatively, their friendship begins to grow, as she reminds him “we’re not incarcerated you know”.
They speak of their lives before, outside of the nursing home. There is a lingering nostalgia for the past, and a fear of what the future may bring. The characters’ fears and concerns are examined in such a warm and honest way that the play never feels depressing or dark, despite the potential for this. Instead the story focuses on the potential for friendship, love – even adventure – in day to day life, despite the many obstacles standing in your way.
There are some wonderful moments of physical comedy, in particular brought about by Stephen Brennan, who embodies the physicality of a much older and more infirm man, while Anita Reeves, in a spirited performance as Patricia, does wonders for the generic stereotypes of stern, retired (only recently, mind) headmistresses.
The audience responds audibly to Seán and Patricia with knowing laughter throughout and the actors are rewarded with lengthy applause and a much deserved standing ovation at the close of the performance.
That the audience warmed to the characters in such a way in a mere 70 minutes is testament to both the strength of Kinahan’s writing and the wonderful performances of the two leads.
These Halcyon Days is a wonderful love note to friendship, and to living without regrets.
A real gem – see it while you can!
by Cara Groome Travers
These Halcyon Days plays at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght until Saturday, 13th July. Tickets are still available for Friday, 12th July and Saturday, 13th July. Tickets from €16. Contact our box office on 01 4627477 or book online HERE.