My Dad’s Blind by Anna Shiels-Mcnamee, winner of Best Production at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2018.
Inspired by raw audio recordings, this is a true story about Anna's blind Dad. Examining misplaced pity in all its guises, this is an irreverent look at what happens when a parent loses his sight while his daughter loses her mind. A story about sight-loss, family dysfunction and all the embarrassing, awkward, ridiculous ways they try to get by in a sighted world with a blind Dad and a guide dog that’s just had a stroke.
Directed by Gemma Aked-Priestley and co-produced with Pan Pan Theatre. Funded by The Arts Council/An Chomairle Ealaíon. Developed at FRINGE LAB with the support of Dublin Fringe Festival.
Photos: Ste Murray
The Irish Times
My Dad’s Blind review: Singular vision of a life marred by blindness
Dublin Fringe Festival: Two-hander is marked by visual flair and dark comedy.
MY DAD’S BLIND
Space Upstairs, Project Arts Centre
★ ★ ★ ★
If the aim of Anna Sheils-McNamee’s two-hander is to evoke the disorientation and capriciousness of going blind, it succeeds in both substance and style. An unnamed girl (Sheils-McNamee) cares for, and fights with, her father (David O’Meara), who has lost his sight as an adult. As they untangle the past, the present unravels, in chaotic, unpredictable fashion. As if underlining the cruelty of blindness, Gemma Aked-Priestley’s production for Pan Pan has a flair for the visual. The luminous set is dotted with props that facilitate physical action and dark slapstick, the minimalist look gradually disappearing under the detritus generated by the gleefully nonsequential narrative twists. There is an aural aspect, too, in the form of disconcertingly loud yet confessional recordings. But it is not a bleak piece, nor is it artificially uplifting. At its core lies an astringent comic sensibility and a lively theatrical imagination, brought to life by the energetic performers. All in all, a singular vision of a potentially difficult subject.