UCD Dramsoc’s current offering, I Am Bear runs for this week at the theatre in the New Student Centre. Patrick Kelleher looks at the unconventional theatrical performance.


james healy image
Photo Credit: James Healy

Going to see a play performed by UCD Dramsoc is usually not a particularly intimidating experience, but then I Am Bear is not a typical piece of theatre. With its small and intimate set design and its bold and charismatic acting, this performance is gripping, tantalising, and most importantly, it has its actors’ talents at the core of the experience.

Brought to UCD Dramsoc by the Polliwog Theatre Collective, and based on Michael Rosenburg’s ‘We’re Going On a Bear Hunt’, this devised piece by Tiarnán Fallon Verbruggen and Conor O’Rourke looks at the lives of young people through the journeys they make in their daily lives.

This production is grounded by its expert acting, and is performed by the talented cast of Tiarnán Fallon Verbruggen, Conor O’Rourke, Katie O’Byrne and Caoimhe Finn. From the outset, all actors display an incredible commitment to their work.

This highly physical performance sees all of its actors launching themselves across the stage and throwing themselves on the ground, while delivering their lines perfectly. As a viewer, there is an overwhelming urge to grab them a glass of water, so exhausting are their efforts.

It is the physical nature of the performance that makes it so enthralling to watch. The design of the theatre for this production enhances this even further. The general seats of the theatre are closed off, and the entire audience and acting crew are confined to a small space, with chairs lining either side. The set comprises of nothing other than black lino. It is in this sense that it is at first intimidating – viewers are incredibly close to the drama and the action at all times, dragging you into the performance entirely. The result is a much more intimate and interesting performance, where the audience truly engage with the actors and the material they deliver.

The most important feature of this performance is undoubtedly in its actors’ abilities. It shows the extraordinary wealth of talent that exists at UCD in acting, and also the dedication and commitment they have for their art. All four of the cast members are truly magnificent in this enthralling and intriguing show.

I Am Bear runs until February 20th at UCD Dramsoc’s Theatre in the New Student Centre at 7PM every evening. It will also run in the main space at the Smock Alley Theatre at 6.30PM on the 5th and 6th of March. Tickets are limited, and can be booked in advance through iambearucddramsoc@gmail.com.