Jack Harte’s play – directed by Liam Halligan –is highly-charged from the moment two ex-pupils burst into a prefab classroom to confront a bullying, tyrannical Irish (language) teacher about their shared past. The action cleverly moves between the play’s present and its past using costume change and props. Over the next 90 minutes, the younger people challenge not only their old teacher and idol but some of our most cherished national icons – for example, one of the characters says that despite our reputation for being a nation of writers and talkers, we’re not that great when it comes to communication. She could have said that we’re not that great at speaking to each other in plain English but that doesn’t quite hit the mark, because the teaching, learning and love of the Irish language is fundamental to the play. Quite a lot of it is in Irish, with surtitles on a screen.
Some of the revelations are shocking, but I can guarantee that they’re not all quite what you expect. There are strong performances from every member of the cast: Michael O’Sullivan, Aoife Moore, Matthew O’Brien and Marc McCabe.
Language of the Mute runs at the New Theatre in Temple Bar until 5th September: www.thenewtheatre.com