Exploring the slave trade, from its pre-civil war American history to the current realities of the use of slavery in production of most of what we consume, from Nestle cereals to Gap hoodies, Syrius is a strong piece of theatre that challenges its audience. The work blends text with movement, with each ensemble member bringing a distinct but complementary style to the piece. The piece is, at times, somewhat disjointed, with the text coming across as a talk or lecture rather than a theatre piece, but it is still effective in conveying its message. In breaking the fourth wall in a number of ways, and encouraging the audience to look up www.slaveryfootprint.org, the performers push the audience to truly engage with the subject matter. Owned, directed by Ailish Leavy is an engaging and confident production that highlights an important global issue.
Written and performed by Romana Testasecca, with direction by Karen Killeen, Syrius is a powerful piece of theatre exploring the experience of one woman who travelled from Syria to Portlaoise as a refugee. The powerful movement in the work, choreographed by Stefanie Dufrense, portrays the many difficulties faced by the character, from her initial defiance against the military presence in Syria, to her journey to Ireland. Testasecca has an impressive presence on stage, drawing the audience into the story and creating a pulsing vein of hope throughout the piece.