Written by Tim Etchells
Directed by Tony McCleane-Fay
Everyman Palace Theatre 7-10 Nov at 8pm
Performed by sixteen Irish children, the play explores how children’s lives are affected by the adult world, which surrounds them. That Night Follows Day begins as a tirade of observations about how us adults treat them, from the banal “You feed us. You dress us” to the more philosophical “You explain to us what love is”. Powerful choral chants create the collective voice of ‘the children’, with more personal monologues allowing us glimpses into the individuals who have come together to think about how they are being formed as people
That Night Follows Day is a quietly revolutionary work, which, with immaculate artfulness, strips theatre back to the barest essentials. Performance is the simplest utterance, and the text – a beautifully modulated series of variations on a theme – is a sequence of statements.
With the clarity and poise of a poem, these statements accumulate to become a complex portrait of the relationships between adults and children.
It is wholly recognisable without ever becoming cliched, delicately exploring the truths and untruths with which parents condition their children, and revealing the complex mutual dynamics – love, play and betrayal, dependence and rebellion – that underlie these relationships.
The children move with a precision that itself comes under question during the performance, as one more instance of how adults control children. But, like everything else in this show, this is done with a light touch. That Night Follows Day demonstrates how few elements are required to make compelling and moving theatre – words, a stage, performers and, perhaps most importantly of all, unsparing intelligence and honesty.
A co-production between Bare Cheek / Everyman Palace Theatre / Granary Theatre / Axis Arts Centre.