By Donna Herman
I go so you know
Sarah-Jane Scott’s “Appropriate” is one of the offerings in the 2020 juried 1st Irish Festival which has been bringing the best of Irish writing for the stage to New York for the last 12 years. Ms. Scott not only penned the play; she performs the one-woman comedy about a panicking bride at her wedding reception. “Appropriate” received accolades at both the Dublin Fringe in 2018 and the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 where it won the Summerhall Lustrum Award for Excellence.
We get acquainted with Sorcha (Sarah-Jane Scott), a young bride from a small West Irish town, as she slips away from her wedding reception on the heels of a panic attack. She explains to us the nature of these out-of-body feelings that overtake her at crucial moments in her life and goes on to illustrate not only with what just happened but how it ruined her big engagement moment too.
Soon enough we’re being led down the path of her relationship with her newly wedded husband Marty, the ex-county hurling hero who she set her cap at back in school with ferocious determination, from first glance through first dance at their wedding.
While Ms. Scott’s acting talents are fully discernible to an American audience in “Appropriate,” her writing abilities may not be as translatable. Being performed at The New York Irish Center in Long Island City for it’s 7 performance run from January 27th through February 2nd, most of the opening night audience I saw the play with seemed to be, if not born in Ireland with Irish accents, of Irish extraction. They were laughing and enjoying references to things that I did not understand. I generally have no problem understanding Irish accents on stage and didn’t feel like I was having much trouble understanding Ms. Scott’s notable Irish accent. However, the cultural references were clearly going over my head. The Irish vernacular was simply lost on me and so, much of the comedy was too. I suspect that many Americans who are not of an Irish background will find themselves in the same boat.
By the same token, just as Ms. Scott’s considerable talents as an actress were able to make me see humor in moments I couldn’t exactly understand, those same acting abilities were able to make me see emotional depths and connections in the character that aren’t actually fleshed out in the writing. Ms. Scott was trying to say something about the emptiness of Sorcha’s dreams that she never quite got to. The result left me wanting a do-over for poor Sorcha. She really deserves a proper ending. I’d like to see Ms. Scott come back to her in about 10 years when she’s had a few more writing projects under her belt and can take her where she deserves to go. She’s a great gal and I’d like to get to know her better.
“Appropriate” by Sarah-Jane Scott, Directed by Paul Meade
WITH: Sarah-Jane Scott (Sorcha)
Original Lighting Design by Colm Mather; Dramaturgical support by Colm Maher; Production Stage Manager, Carol A. Sullivan; Produced by Jill Murray. Presented by Gúna Nua Theatre, Dublin in Association with The New York Irish Center & Origin 1st Irish Festival at New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY. Performances January 27th through February 1st at 8pm and February 2nd at 3pm. For tickets visit: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1021026 or call Ovation tickets at 866-811-4111.