AFTER A successful run at the Town Hall Theatre Studio in April, Hourglass Theatre Company return to the venue with a revival of Loose Change, a trio of one acts by Ian Patterson.
“We’re reviving it mainly because it was so well received when we did it first time around,” says Patterson, who also directs and acts in the production. “We had good crowds and very good feedback, I think people could identify with the themes.”
The three one-acts cast an ironic eye on the worlds of education, finance, and family ties. In Best and Brightest a cynical tutor discovers the limits of knowledge when challenged by a palm-reading undergraduate; two brothers clash on the best way to care for their aging mother in Sorted; and a conscientious bank clerk struggles to do the right thing as investors rush to sell their shares in Soft Landing.
“The themes in each one were interesting to me,” Patterson says. “I also found ways of connecting the three plays via family or other relationships between the characters in each play without them actually meeting each other, so Charlie who is mentioned in Soft Landing is the tutor who features in Best and Brightest, and May, also from Soft Landing, is the sister of the two brothers in Sorted. Funnily when we presented Loose Change as three distinct one-acts, we did get some audience members who came up to me and said they thought it was one coherent play, and I think it was because I had drawn those people’s connections in what was a very limited way but it seemed to be enough to suggest to an audience that they were all in the same play so it worked well in that sense.”
Each play sees male characters being wrong-footed by female ones, although Patterson says this was not pre-planned. “I never write in terms of gender politics and whether a male or a female might be dominating a particular situation," he says, "although Eamon does end up at the mercy of May at the end of Soft Landing. In Sorted there is a sort of sordidness about the whole situation, in that the older brother, Ray, is trying to get the house off their mother because he wants to build an extension in his own home, while the other brother seems to have the right ideas about family but doesn’t have the power to influence the situation.
"With Best and Brightest the theme was education and contrasting it with superstition and that struck a chord with a lot of people. Charlie claims to know everything and is very withering of what he considers the ignorance of uneducated people, and audiences seemed to find it satisfying when a character like that ends up being wrong-footed. We had some third level teachers in one night who thought it was a very interesting subject and, while I was worried the play might offend teachers, they actually saw it as more of an indictment of the quality of a certain kind of student that they see coming into college so there is material there that could satisfy both sides of an argument.”
As well as Patterson, the cast also features Colette Devaney, Sharon Prendeville, PJ Moore, and Frieda McGrath. The production runs at the Town Hall studio from Monday October 5 to Saturday 10 at 8.30pm. Tickets are available through 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie