I didn’t actually see this performance; not by virtue of being absent, but rather because I had followed the request of actor and spoken word poet, Paul Daly, to blindfold myself. A length of black material was supplied for the purpose. I covered my eyes, wrapped the cloth around my head and secured it with a knot at the back.
A narrative tragedy.
This was Daly’s debut recitation with his new piece of writing, The Story’s End. The following taste of his style and summary of the story he tells appears in the programme:
John wasn’t different
In fact he was just the same.
He was born to regular parents
And was given a normal name.
But John had turned to Jonny
And Jonny had turned to drugs.
And John, now Jonny’s, family
Had all but given up.
In a nutshell, that is it. The story is elaborated in the verses that form the work and the trials and tribulations of John, now Jonny, are related over a period of around thirty minutes. It’s a narrative tragedy with a contrasting visual ending that comes with the removal of the blindfold.
The format is interesting and the blindfolding experience was probably different for each member of the audience. Initially I thought it would help in focussing on the words, but it didn’t. Instead my mind wandered into matters totally unrelated to what was being said. That might say more about my inability to focus and concentrate than it does about Daly’s writing or presentation. However, his voice seemed to lack the timbre, intensity and variations in tone to grip the imagination and without being able to engage by seeing him, it was easy to drift away into other thoughts. The light meter of the verse also seemed a mismatch with the heavy substance of the tale.
Blindfolding was optional but recommended. Another time I’ll keep my eyes open.
This play was presented by Threedumb Theatre as part of their Six Plays, One Day event at the Tristan Bates Theatre on 9th February, 2019.