Phillip McMahon: Come On Home, Abbey Theatre (Peacock Stage), Dublin (Director: Rachel O’Riordan)
By Sascha Krieger
Home is a drab living room. Shabby wall-paper, a well-worn armchair, an old sofa (set design: Colin Richmond). The light is always somewhat on the dim side. In the middle of the room: a coffin. The lady of the house has died, time for her disgraced gay son, a former seminarian thrown out of his education and then his home to return after 20 or so years. This is the setting of Phillip McMahon’s new play, produced on the Abbey’s Peacock stage by director Rachel O’Riordan. The sense and meaning of home has been at the heart of Irish theatre since it was created as a concept as part of the re-awakening of the idea of an Irish nation around the beginning of the last century – a process the creation of the Abbey was a key part of, by the way. Home is where the corpses are, the skeletons in the closet or in plain sight. Collective or personal, the past always seems present when Ireland is trying to find out who she is. May playwrights have wrestled with those demons, the ghosts of an insecure and repressive society, a religious dictatorship , a stifling authoritarian molarity driving generations away. Recently, Ireland has opened: marriage equality, abortion rights, attempts to uncover the past and heal its wounds. This is the backdrop of Come On Home, a reminder that there is still a long way to go.