Stella is dead, the funeral is over and Anna’s husband, Richard, has taken the children to his mother’s for the weekend. Alone at last, Anna has two days ahead of her to make sense of the catastrophe that ensues when she takes the 19-year-old Stella into her home. She can’t help the baby bird shrieking in the garden for its mother, but she could have helped Stella.
Killing Stella is inspired by Marlen Haushofer’s compelling novella Wir töten Stella (Austria, 1958), an unflinching story of collusion in abuse, and the price that has to be paid for remaining silent.
In keeping with Gaitkrash’s signature exploration across art forms to create cutting-edge theatre, the performers, Bernadette Cronin (actor) and Eimear Reidy (cello), create a multi-layered language of performance to tell this story of the subtle abuse of a powerless young woman, the trauma of teenage pregnancy, and the damage that unfolds when the witness remains silent. Original composition, visual aesthetic, movement and monologue are interwoven to form a finely-tuned and tightly spun tapestry.
If you’re a lover of intense and intriguing performances that will stay with you after you leave the theatre, Killing Stella may be for you.
—Rachel O’Leary, No More Workhorse, July 2018
“The controlled stillness of the actress who played the role of Anna continued for at least a minute after the house lights went down forcing us to study what was to become throughout the action of the play the remarkably significant set designed by Davy Dummigan. Then the story begins. Anna is left alone for the weekend with the turmoil of her thoughts as she recounts her husband’s tragic affair with teenage Stella and her own almost wilful negligence in ignoring it. The role of Anna is accompanied onstage with the sometimes plaintive, sometimes frantic notes of the cello brilliantly played by the unobtrusive presence of cellist Eimear Reidy. The balletic poise and grace of Bernadette Cronin contradicts the turmoil of her thoughts. This is directorially beautifully performed as Anna becomes entangled in a web of self-inflicted threadlike ribbons of remorse and guilt and later begins linking them to each other in what for me signified the mental and emotional trap of her thoughts. I was riveted by this combination of soundscape and movement and stageset and the sheer physical and emotional connection the actress had with all three. Gaitkrash does it again by giving us a different, thought provoking and wonderful night of theatre.”
—Mary Curtin, Director, August 2018