Revelations (2003)

‘Revelations’ by Darren Donohue (Riverbank / Project, Cube. Sept. ESB Dublin Fringe Festival). (WP)

We presented ‘Revelations’ by Darren Donohue in Project as part of the ESB Dublin Fringe Festival 2003. The show ran for a week at 6.45pm; tickets were €11 and €9; the running time was 1 hour 15 minutes. It was directed by Peter Hussey and featured Nick Devlin (Man 1), Paul Keeley (Man 2) and Darren Donohue (Man 3). The set was designed and constructed by Ciarán Aspell. The show was stage managed by Keith Burke. Lighting was designed and rigged by Ciarán Aspell, and sound was designed and operated by Peter Hussey. Production Assistant was Steve Gunn.

This play is the fourth in our series of anti-sentimental theatre pieces in which we aim to create theatre that does not rely exclusively on emotional or intellectual engagement for it to make sense to the audience. The pieces aim to engage with the audience’s imagination as much as with their heart and with their head. We find absurdist drama to be an excellent vehicle for this exploration, and so, many of the pieces are influenced by Beckett, Ionesco and Camus.

‘Revelations’ was first presented as part of ‘Sucking Stones: three plays after Beckett’ in Riverbank in February 2002. It is inspired by Endgame and also by Edward Bond’s The Crime of The Twenty-First Century (a play we presented in 2001).


A world in ashes. A hide-out in the deserted tenements. An old man commits an atrocity. A young man discovers it. Age and treachery is pitted against youth and skill.

Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Endgame this lyrical play concerns the reminiscences of a chair-bound old man (Man 1 – Devlin) who is attended by another old man, his keeper (Man 2 – Keeley). We realise that all is not as it appears in this world, and that something dreadful is happening outside. We are in the aftermath of a war or catastrophe of some sort. The army is in control of the country, and they are clearing out buildings, ‘cleaning up’ the streets. Soon they will be here, at this block of flats. It also becomes clear that Man 2 has been keeping Man 1 a prisoner here, having apparently broken his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. Man 1 is desperate for company, and although Man 1 never talks to him, in fact hates him, Man 2 is happy enough with this situation. As he says “Together we have a chance of happiness. Alone, we have nothing. Except regret.” He fusses irritatingly around Man 1, locking him into a co-dependent relationship of which he is undisputedly in control.

Their world is disturbed by the arrival of Man 3 (Donohue) who has been blinded by the army, is on the run, and wants to get to the seaside where he has heard some people are starting to build a new, better world. Man 2, however, traps him and binds him to a chair in the flat so that he doesn’t escape, all the while trying to ‘housetrain’ him. Things come to a head, though, when Man 1 intervenes and puts Man 3 out of his misery. By now it is too late to leave and the army are upon them.

The play ends with the army about to knock down their door while they have utterly no power to defend themselves. Despite the bleak plot, the dialogue is sharp and often very funny.

As with all Crooked House plays, an unpublished copy of the script is available by request.

Irish Times Review

“A promising start to the festival, Revelations takes us refreshingly far from the slowly unfolding family dramas of mainstream theatre here. Imagine Misery rewritten for the stage by Alan Ayckbourne and you’ve got the measure of this darkly comic piece by Darren Donohue.

Three men are locked in a hell-is-other-people relationship; there is no comfort within, nor security without each other. Man 1 (Nick Devlin) , wheelchair-bound with a damaged leg, rambles almost incoherently (he speaks a bit too quickly – first night gitters?) unless Man 2 (Paul Keeley) is tending him with his constricting, needy and menancing affection. Man 3 (Donohue) throws this sadistic – masochistic dependence out of balance – and suffers the consequences. Under the direction of Peter Hussey, Devlin pulls off some impressive acting as the mute invalid, but it is Keeley’s superb performance, and unsettling brew of childishness, sweetness and silliness but with bared teeth and a wolf’s hunger, that makes this play extraordinary.”

– Christine Madden, Irish Times. Wednesday, September 24th, 2003