We’re here in the Reg watching a performance by the gifted students of the South East Technological University Theatre Studies.
They are presenting a rehearsed reading of Teresa Deevy’s one-act drama—Within a Marble City.
Beautifully narrated by Kate McCarthy, the story is set in 1940s Ireland about a girl called Mary Tobin (played by Janice Lacharmante). Mary is in search of something more than a life behind the counter in her father’s shop. When she meets Christopher Murray (Liam Hickey), she creates an opportunity to change her fortunes. Set on a Sunday in October at the riverside and in the parlour of the Tobin home, ‘Within a Marble City’ continues Teresa Deevy’s exploration of women characters who seek out alternative futures to oppose the constraining forces of 1940s Ireland.
The skilled, budding actors in front of us are adept at keeping the audience engaged with laughs throughout.
For those unfamiliar with Deevy’s work, the dramatist and writer was born in Waterford in 1894. She was deaf from the age of 19 and is best known for her works for theatre, but she was also a short story writer, and writer for radio.
The themes that are most common with Deevy plays are those where options for women are severely limited in society, where women are trapped by domestic life, or must choose between a loveless marriage or a life of drudgery. She wrote about the women who struggle for survival and the lust over wanting a better life, how this privilege might seem attractive, until it is revealed that the “better life” comes with its set of struggles too. She also explores the “individual’s negotiation between self and society where the personal is political.