It Folds

Both touching and humorous, It Folds is an experimental exploration of grief, death and the human condition. In a series of disjointed events, the story of young boy’s abduction is told from the perspective of all members of a community through a variety of mediums. In fusing two of Ireland’s leading theatre companies, this ensemble has created a multi-faceted, accurate and devastating portrayal of what it means to live, and what it means to die.

A multi-faceted, accurate and devastating portrayal of what it means to live, and what it means to die.

The dimly-lit stage and sombre piñata suspended above the audience as we enter the theatre could immediately be contrasted with the energy of the first actor as he enters, covered in a white sheet, a child’s idea of a ghost. He tells the story of his time as an alter boy, and though clearly a spectre, injects life into the auditorium and puts the audience at ease. This fast-paced, dark humour unfortunately does not hold out, with a number of scenes running at a slightly slower rate, which loses that sensation of interconnection between its characters and scenes.

The companies can be applauded for their fresh take on themes which have been done many times: through spoken word, singing in harmony and physical theatre, they offer a multi-layered portrayal of these ideas. The use of humorous props, such as a pantomime horse and a chair dressed in an old man’s suit, also serve a much darker purpose; the two ends of the horse strain against each other, unable to see eye to eye, and an old woman dresses the chair up to look like an old man, before entering the stage in a matching suit. Each scene is fresh and different, with a number of scenes that left me breathless and close to tears. Despite this, some of the physical theatre could have been fine-tuned to improve the fluidity of the production as a whole.

Overall, this company succeeds in sharing their relevant, significant themes with the audience in clever and innovative ways. Though the fine tuning of some aspects of staging would give it a polished effect as a whole, this heartfelt and powerful production is hopefully one of many ventures of Brokentalkers and Junk Ensemble: a thought-provoking performance which left me contemplating what I saw long after the final bows. 

Reviews by Angela O'Callaghan

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The Blurb

A blindfolded boy violently swings at a piñata. A choir of ghosts gatecrash a child’s birthday party. The front and back ends of a pantomime horse can’t see eye to eye. It Folds is a poignant, humorous portrait of death, grief and the extremes of the human condition from two of Ireland’s leading performance companies. Fusing the distinctive choreography of Junk Ensemble with the innovative theatricality of Brokentalkers, this multi award-winning show features a large cast of performers. It Folds is a co-production with LÓKAL Festival Reykjavík. Both companies are Project Arts Centre Artists. Supported by Culture Ireland.