Have I No Mouth

Fiedlen Cannon is one of the founders of Dublin based theatre company Brokentalkers. He is also one of the stars of Have I No Mouth. Fiedlen shares the stage with his mother, Ann Cannon and also his mothers therapist, played by Erich Keller. Both Fiedlen and Ann are playing themselves onstage and it is their real life tale that we are being told.

As the audience enters the theatre we are given a deflated balloon. The significance of this is revealed later and the playful nature of the object summarises Have I No Mouth. Strange, curious but also humorous.

We soon discover that the Cannon family has suffered great loss over the years. When Fiedlen was still a young boy his mother gave birth to a son, who died soon after the delivery. Tragedy returned to the family when Fiedlen's Father passed away 12 years ago. One method Ann takes to cope with the loss is to turn to a therapist and discover ways to relax and relieve stress. Here Erich Keller shares the methods and teaches the audience ways to loosen up in our chairs.Keller then goes on to present the ‘Angry Balloon’ method. At this point in the performance, the audience is told how to blow our anger into a balloon and see it disappear. This interaction adds a degree of empathy to the performance and allows us see the emotion of the Cannon family, even if we have not experienced such tragedy in our own lives.

Have I No Mouth also deals with the concept of false memories, interpretations of dreams and childhood recollections. Mother and son bicker at each other about whether Fiedlen can remember being shown his brother at the hospital before the heartbreak of his early death. During the argument we see the bond between mother and son and the heart behind the performance. Ann Cannon is no actress though and despite the fact she is playing herself she seems awkward on stage and uncomfortable in her role. This is obvious when the Have I No Mouth enters the surreal, with Eric Keller taking on the role of Ann's deceased husband in a series of personal interactions.

The performance reaches a climax when we find out that Fiedlen's fathers death was the result of a misdiagnosis and a botched and unnecessary surgical operation. This melancholy and emotionally intense ending is broken with a burst of joy that would spoil the performance if it were to be revealed. Overall, Have I No Mouth is a passionate performance filled with emotion, zeal and tragedy.

Reviews by Steven Fraser

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The Blurb

A theatrical, funny and heartbreaking documentary performance written and performed by real life mother and son, Ann and Feidlim Cannon, which explores the the changing nature of their relationship in the aftermath of a family tragedy.