“Mass” at Absolut Fringe – seeking out a modern day replacement

Arriving on the compact theatre on top floor of The Powerscourt Town House Centre not sure what to expect, but with the belief there would be no praying involved.

On arrival audience members are urged to blow out tea lights on entry and are handed something similar to a mass pamphlet with community notices on the back. The audience seated on 3 sides of a large tin (leaky) bath tub place on 2 long stools. Storyteller and writer Duncan Molloy begins by welcoming everyone to Mass and asks the audience members to shake hands and introduce each other part of the ritual of Mass. Duncan informs you that he no longer attends Mass he is not even a believer but he misses the coming together of people meeting with your neighbours that he got from Mass. He then asks the audience to sing Help by the Beatles from a sheet that we were given on entry following along the lines of a mass he then introduces a number of actors (readers) who just as in church deliver but these are just everyday life stories. It does for a short time feel like that you are part of a Mass and you begin to wonder if he intends to follow that theme through and what will he do for the part of the communion?

Duncan moves about the room speaking about the damage the church has done, but rather than trying to fix it he clearly would like to explore the idea if we could find a 21st century replacement to Mass where people could still continue that come together with the same sense of community as long as you believe in something. He plays with the pun of energy slowing down is actually mass. The audience are then asked to share in a ceremonial pouring of water from the jug into the leaky bath. The ceremony ends with another song and audience pass out by the tea lights again.

It was an interesting thought about a 21st century communal event to bring people together, from my perspective there are numerous such gatherings including the one I was just at: theatre, festivals, sporting events, art galleries, the pub, a restaurant, social media the list is endless.

Personally regardless of the abuse that has occurred in the Church, had the whole concept of Mass not outlived its usefulness? I certainly can live without.
Performed by Duncan Molloy LSA [Ireland]

Dates September 9, 16, 23

Times 15.00 and 17.00 each day

Duration 70 minutes

Cost €12 €10 concession

© Tom Dowling image by Tom Dowling

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