Last week’s Dramsoc lunchtime play, Disco Pigs, written by Enda Walsh, is a hilarious and occasionally horrifying coming of age drama. Written in 1996, it was made most famous in 2001 as a movie starring Cillian Murphy and Harper’s Island’s Elaine Cassidy.
Inseparable since birth, next-door neighbours and wilful outsiders Pig (Matthew Kelly) and Runt (Andrea Coakely) have grown up together as though they were twins — even having their unique bond expressed by their own private language.
According to Runt, Pig is “da bes an da worse pal in dis bad ol whirl.” They are so close in fact that they form their own isolated world of violence, dysfunction, and devotion.
This play was energetically directed by Shane Ward, with strong and convincing performances (as well as unfaltering Cork accents) by both Kelly and Coakely. It was great to see full use being made of all the space the black box has to offer, and there was a really effective use of lighting throughout to reflect a change of setting or mood, varying from the pulsating strobe-lights of a disco, to the blue of the sea and the blood-red of violent acts.
Disco Pigs is one of those plays that forcibly grabs the audience’s attention from the very beginning and refuses to let go until the bitter end. “An da liddle baby beebas a Pork Sity take da furs bread inta da whirl”, for this line, at the play’s beginning, the audience was witnesses to the spectacle that is the ‘births’ of both Pig and Runt.
Balanced on two of the play’s few props (a pair of upturned chairs), Kelly and Coakely slid out from between the chairs’ legs, to the delight and amazement of everyone watching. The tension in this play grows from this point onwards, to such an extent that the final scene’s dramatic violence is quite inevitable and had lost almost all of its shock value.
As they wander through Cork on their 17th birthday, starting fights with everyone from bar staff and bus drivers to Sinn Fein members, Pig and Runt start to grow apart. As unconventional as this play is, the damage to this unhealthy relationship is done the old-fashioned way — with a first kiss. While Pig discovers he loves Runt; Runt discovers she has spent more than enough time on the fringe of society with her self-destructive friend and his taste for violence. Therefore there is no way to avoid the massive change about to impact both their lives.