CO-PRODUCED by HotForTheatre and the Galway International Arts Festival, Amy Conroy’s new play, Luck Just Kissed You Hello, was one of the main events on the festival’s opening day.
The critical and popular success of Conroy’s previous plays, especially I (Heart ) Alice (Heart ) I, ensured keen interest in this production which focuses on the complex issue of gender identity. In Luck Just Kissed You Hello, Laura returns home to Ireland for the death of her domineering father, Ted, with whom she had a conflicted relationship. However Laura is now Mark. In a dramatic exploration of masculinity, Mark defends his new life to those who know him best - his twin brother Gary and Sullivan, her father’s adopted son. Mostly though, Mark has to face what it means to be himself.
The play has strong passages where ideas of masculinity are teased out and explored – the three characters embody different versions of it with Gary being gay, Sullivan a straight married man, and Laura/Mark somebody who was born female but always felt male and has undergone surgery to effect a sex change. At times it is also very funny.
However there are passages where the play drags. A key story about a near drowning incident at a local beach is repeated a number of times with minor variations yet does not pack the kind of punch it is intended to have. The play is enacted around a table in Aedin Cosgrove’s gray set which also makes it feel overly static at times; the range of movements the characters carry out is limited.
As the play progresses it starts to become apparent that the other characters are alter-egos of Mark who is battling to come to terms with her/his upbringing and identity. Conroy is superb in this role, by turns defiant, pained, and wittily acerbic. Mark Fitzgerald and Will O’Connell also turn in strong work alongside her.