BY MARK RICHARDSON
July 8+29, 2018 ¦ Wood Quay Amphitheatre
Jan 16-28, 2017 ¦ The International
"He is that homeless man who stops you in your tracks and makes you look twice. A poet and the self-proclaimed oldest homeless man in Dublin, Sean may spend the rest of his days in the gutter, only he will be looking at the stars... His life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Dolan, fresh out on the streets, lacking shoes and judgement."
Anonymous is a two-act play by Mark Richardson, with a running length of 1h30 without interval. It premiered in The International in January 2017 and had a successful run with 12 performances. After a rewrite from the playwright, the play was performed again, with a slightly different cast, in the Wood Quay outdoor amphitheatre in the Dublin Civic Offices on July 8th and 29th, 2018.
Supported by RTÉ Supporting the Arts.
In support of Depaul Ireland, Focus Ireland, Dublin Simon Community, Barnardos, Peter McVerry Trust, and Darkness Into Light.
Cast & Crew:
Written by Mark Richardson
Directed and Produced by Nathalie Clement
Assistant Producer: Stella Godmet (2017), Aoife Gallagher (2018)
Performance photographer: Dominic Barnes, Jeff Gibson (2018)
Safety Officer: Louise O’Herlihy (2018)
Cast 2018: Zeff Lawless, Fiona Coughlan, Joe Clinton, Conor Duffy, Jordan Begley
Cash 2017: Zeff Lawless, Nathalie Clement, Brendan Hickey, Conor Duffy, Joe Clinton
The Reviews Hub, January 19th 2017
‘I am homeless. I have no name’.
"For homeless men living on the streets of Dublin it can seem as though they are stripped of their identity; histories, talents and even names. Mark Richardson’s Anonymous seeks to undo this.
Dolan is new to the streets and it shows. Despite having no shoes on he is still clean and somewhat green; willing to trust in others and have faith. He opens himself up and is vulnerable when talking about how he came to be on the streets. For Dolan his life may not be a long harsh process of homelessness but for older associate Sean, it is. Sean doesn’t have friends. He doesn’t have a name either. Or at least that is what he tells people. It soon becomes clear however that he is someone others turn to for advice and comfort. Slow to talk about himself he chooses to protect himself with the invisibility that comes with being looked over hundreds of times a day. He is the self – proclaimed oldest homeless man in Dublin and knows how to survive with little else except his notebooks.
The staging and costumes are relatively simple. Rubbish and fallen leaves are bundled up in a corner. The two main characters are armed with only their backpacks, some cardboard and the items on their bodies to protect them from the elements.
Over time we learn that Sean is a poet. Some of the play is delivered in verse, and poetry is integral to the nature of Anonymous. The language used is frequently lyrical and used to underscore humorous moments. It is important to note that this play is not gloomy or self-righteous but instead has many scenes which are funny and hopeful. Which also helps to show how the homeless are still people with minds who create and value art; for themselves and for others. Can art be a way out of poverty?
There are several points of heightened emotion in the play, including the ending that could do with a little sharpening to really touch the audience. Closing with multiple curtain calls after a surprising ending Anonymous is an important and valuable play that can both entertain and touch the heart of the audience. On the streets around The International Bar people are sleeping in shop doorways and begging for money to pay for a hostel bed. It is a sobering reminder that this play draws on what is for many a way of life."
Laura Marriott, The Reviews Hub
“I thought this play was really amazing. I think the lead actors really did the parts justice and made you feel for them and their situations. The young drug addict was great with the crazy up and down moods he really had me nervous. Sean was so great, a man harden by the streets but he plays him so well that you can’t but like him as you can see that there is a softer side to Sean. Would highly recommend going to see this before it finishes, great writing and some great acting! Well done!”
"I have never seen such passion and love for performance as I saw today! '
“This play deserves 5 stars. Thought-provoking, emotional, humorous and heartfelt. A must see while it is on in the International Bar.”
"Thank you for such a powerful performance today! Anonymous is a play we should all see!`'
“This play is amazing... Wonderfully served by Nathalie Clement's direction, Mark Richardson's beautifully written script leads the audience through a reflection on homelessness in our society. Always poetic, sometimes dramatic, the play is also funny and entertaining. Casting and actor's performance are on point... Zeff, Brendan, Conor, Nathalie and Joe give life to their character in a realistic yet so endearing way. Zeff Lawless is outstanding in the part of Sean the poet. This is a must-see play!”
"Went to see this play last night and was completely blown away. (...) The play has many facets which will humour you, frighten you and enlighten you to human life on the streets of Dublin. (...) The acting was mesmerizing and so realistic. (...) You forgot that you were in a theatre and not on the streets of Dublin."
"We loved every minute of it and the cast were fantastic! Such a beautifully captivating story."
"It's a fantastic piece of writing, beautifully performed and directed and is so current and relevant."
"Go see it if you can, it's impressive, light, an eye-opener and you're gonna be richer person coming out of there."
"Well rounded characters and endearing ones, go see for yourself."
"You'll have to go along to see this play. It is well written, directed and performed."
On HowlRound, April 8th 2017
"Ireland’s current bleak economic reality also serves as the backdrop for another recent small scale production produced by Purple Hare Theatre Company, that examines an important social issue. Taking place above a city centre pub at the improvised theatre space The International Bar, Mark Richardson’s Anonymous is about homelessness. It is about how men with jobs and families end up living on the streets. How they survive and how friendship and art can provide hope in even the darkest corners. One of the main characters, Sean, is a poet. This is something he largely keeps secret, writing his thoughts in his notebooks, the only items he has left that are his. Under Nathalie Clement’s able direction, we see how writing helps Sean to feel human and fill his endless days. It might also be his only way out of poverty.
The two central characters Sean and Dolan are both men who once lived in relative comfort until bereavement and unemployment tore their lives apart. No one wanted things to turn out the way that they did. Anonymous highlights how everyone is just a step or two away from losing everything. The staging echoes the narrative. Sean, played by Zeff Lawless, makes his home on the floor; alone, next to bags of garbage. When Lawless speaks though, the audience hears someone ostracised from society who they can also relate to. Richardson manages to bring empathy back into the conversation around homelessness.
Walking out of the play, I noticed people huddled in sleeping bags in shop doorways, and it was a startling reminder that homelessness is all around us. The play works to humanize people we might otherwise walk past, feet quickening, eyes averted. By introducing the audience to individuals who just happen to sleep on the streets the audience respond to their humanity and real human fears and hopes.
At the moment theatre productions such as The Collector and Anonymous are tackling important issues that affect the audiences’ everyday lives. As older, more traditional ideas of masculinity, of how to live and work are being challenged on all fronts, the theatre is serving as one stage where these issues can be worked through."
Laura Marriott, Howlround
Mark Richardson is a playwright from Dublin. Ireland. He says his love for writing started at the age of fourteen when he was encouraged by his English teacher at the timer to write a play for a local festival. The experience totally enthralled him and he hasn't stopped writing ever since.
For the next three years Mark's play's "Me, Myself and I" "Who killed John Jones?" and "Heroine Heroes" featured in Youth Theater and secondary school festivals throughout Dublin.
In 2014, at the age of eighteen, Mark's play "Don't You remember?" was performed to a sold out audience in The Mill Theater Dundrum. Mark subsequently adapted the play for Radio and was awarded a place on the shortlist of the RTE Radio Drama P.J O'Connor Awards.
In 2017 Marks Play –Anonymous was produced by Purple Hare Theatre Company under the direction of Nathalie Clement. The play had a successful two week run in The International Bar before being revived in 2018 for two performances in Dublin Civic Offices.
Mark was awarded a B.A in English Literature and Performance Studies from UCD in 2017. In 2018 he won a part-scholarship to complete an MA in Playwrighting from UCD which was completed under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Eamonn Jordan.
Mark is currently living in New York City and working at Irish Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen. He is working on a number of exciting creative projects that he hopes to bring to Dublin sometime very soon, both independently and with his friends at Purple Hare Theatre Company.