Lion and Unicorn Theatre
In Ireland, unless you are originally from the place you live – no matter how long you’ve lived there – you are a ‘blow-in’. It’s that simple; known and understood by everyone in Ireland. Kitty (Tzarini Meyler) is a Cork-girl, born and bred. Angel (Ana Canals) on the other hand is a blow-in. She moved to Cork escaping the end of the Second World War in Spain and the loss of her father. The two meet by chance as they fly kites, and a firm friendship forms.
Over the next few years, we follow the girls through their own little fantasy world (often with fab costumes!), through childhood, into teenage years and then onwards into adulthood. Together, away from the rest of the world, they can let their guard down; they can show more of themselves, but perhaps not quite everything. They dream of floating away like their kites, finding a new place for themselves.
Kites uses a lot of humour to drive the relationship forward – a very Irish trait, and one I can relate to considerably. I was smiling or laughing a lot throughout the play. Early on, the humour draws on the differences between rural Ireland and Spain. Then as the girls grow up, it becomes more grounded in the girls’ hopes for their future, the teenage awareness of sex and the limitations that women faced in such a time and place. There is a lot of hope and it’s fascinating to see the different versions of it branch off as each girl comes to realise that her aspirations and dreams might not match the others as they grow up: this is nicely shown through script and performance.
The start of the play is slightly odd, with a recorded voiceover that takes a moment to settle, but things become clearer as we see what looks to be an interpretive dance on stage. There are occasional script disconnects; early hints of the potential nature of the relationships between the girls don’t go anywhere. Their plan to run away together seems to be underway before the plan is made known to us. But Kites moves along at pace and so brings the audience nicely past occasional hiccups.
Both performers are great. Meyler infuses Kitty with the longing to go somewhere – to be elsewhere. Parts of the script allude to her loneliness within her village, which her performance subtly reinforces. This contrasts with the popular Angel, and as Kitty becomes less a part of her life, Canals makes it easy to see the character floating among other friends, happy in herself and in her adopted home.
Years later, as we leave the women, they have both got what they said they wanted out of their lives – what they talked and dreamed about – but was it all they really wanted? Is that how life works out? I’d have happily stayed longer, heard a little more about how their next journey together worked, but the wind changed and the kites moved on.
Written by: Tzarini Meyler
Directed by: Butler Green
Lighting Designer: Cathy O’Carroll
Set and Costume Designer: Rory Meyler