Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Giving a voice to Silent on the streets

Street strife: Pat Kinevane in Silent
Street strife: Pat Kinevane in Silent

If you enjoyed the film The Artist — a delightful homage to the days of silent film — then you’ll want to catch Fishamble’s festival show, Silent.

It’s already gathered a clutch of awards — and writer/performer Pat Kinevane has been praised the length of the land for his portrayal of Tino McGoldrig, a Cork man who once had splendid things, and who now sleeps on the streets of Dublin, with nothing but his memories — and a bottle of Merlot — to keep him warm.

Kinevane spent two years talking to homeless people in Dublin and New York before writing Silent. He’s harnessed his love of silent movies to convey his character’s past.

“I was always fascinated with the whole era of the silent movies before they became the talkies,” he’s said. “Rudolph Valentino was comparable to Tom Cruise — he was like about 400 Tom Cruises, and when he died aged 31 there was a massive outcry all over the world — attempted suicides, women pulling their hair out by the roots. People couldn’t handle the loss of this icon.”

Tino McGoldrig is named after Valentino, and his past is portrayed as a silent film, with key moments through mime which are captioned with placards held by Tino.

These black and white interludes inform Tino’s present, as he scrabbles for change but refuses to abandon his ‘hobo chic’ (a screwtop bottle of wine, rather than one with a cork).

And although his travelling days are done, he takes audiences on a journey down alleyways and avenues they never knew existed.

Silent’s genesis came during a visit to New York by Kinevane, who was performing in the city.

“I had never been to New York City, and went there in 2008, and I didn’t like it. All I could see was homeless people. That’s all I could see. I couldn’t see the shops. I couldn’t see anything else. I thought I was imagining it and eventually I couldn’t handle it I had to talk to people to find out what their story was, how they ended up being left behind and destitute.

“When I came back to Dublin I was even more aware of it, and began to talk to people about their own personal stories.”

The result is Silent. The show has been described as “an exceptional arrangement of acting, writing, comedy, music and dance” — and Kinevane will show you why it doesn’t really take two to tango, if you can use your imagination.

Silent, Waterfront Studio, until Wednesday, 8pm

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