Parallel Cities: House
St. Patrick’s Hill, Cork
Reviewed on 23 July 2012 by Luke Casserly and Aoife Marie O’Donnell
Parallel Cities: House is a contemporary and dynamic piece of site-specific theatre. It entails a street-bound audience spectating a series of real life stories from outside the windows of two apartments on St. Patrick’s Hill in Cork city. House is one-eighth of the Ciudades Paralelas project, a series of theatre pieces that make audience member part of the performance. Parallel Cities has visited many cities worldwide including Warsaw, Buenos Aires and Berlin and invites audiences to view their cities from eight different perspectives.
Equipped with a set of earphones and a transmission device, we took our places on the lofty terrain of St. Patrick’s Hill and thus were drawn into the lives of a diverse group of both national and international residents.
This was far from the most riveting piece of theatre we have both ever experienced, but it certainly was an interesting and warm concept. Whilst we respect the artists’ idea of offering a real-life account of a group of people, it failed to produce much entertainment value. Poor sound quality was also a problem. However, we appreciated the innovative attempt to push the boundaries of theatre; we were transported from the conventional theatre experience of sitting in an auditorium, to an outdoor location, viewing the performance through the windows of the apartment, looking inwards. Parallel Cities: House had the potential to be engaging, had it supplied the audience with a more interesting and fruitful stories in terms of specific content.
To conclude, we found this piece rather bland. In a manner of speaking, it failed to produce a punch line. We both understand the stories of Parallel Cities: House as real and genuine but are left wondering: how interesting can a real life truly be? Not very, judging by the real-life accounts conveyed in this piece.
Parallel Cities: House is presented as part of CorkMidsummer Festival