Much was made by the publishing world of Eimear McBride’s debut novel, she struggled for nine years to find a publisher and though she received high praise for her original voice, most of the publishing companies were loathe to tread into the uncharted waters of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. The play was adapted for theatre by Annie Ryan, who in spite of using less than half of the book’s prose, retains the impact of the original.
McBride doesn’t write poetry, but she was heavily influenced by Irish poet W.B. Yeats, in particular, ‘The Stolen Child’. She studied acting in London for three years, which was also an influence on her style as she reflected: ‘Words are about emotions, articulating sensations. We don’t think in perfect sentences.’* Nor do we act in perfect sentences, her continuous stream of consciousness, when tackled by Ella Prince, is far from anodyne.
Director Erin Taylor and her team have done beautiful justice to the play and Ella Prince is sublime, her performance is urgent and finely honed. Anger seems to be her character’s default setting and it is no small wonder when her traumatic child-hood is revisited. Yet living as she does in a small Irish village, where the prevailing attitude towards sexual assault is focused on victim-blaming, she realises that the only way through is out.
A bare-boned set was sufficient as Prince tells the story of The Girl. You may struggle with the language, but persevere. There is debate in the literary world in London if Eimear McBride is a genius or not. Whatever your verdict on McBride’s abilities, the tag genius can certainly be applied to Ella Prince for this one.
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is presented by Brevity Theatre in association with Aya Productions and bAKEHOUSE Theatre and is on until 21 April, for more information and tickets see: http://www.kingsxtheatre.com/girl-half-formed/
Featuring Ella Prince
Creative/Tech Team Eimear McBrie (writer), Annie Ryan (adaptaton), Erin Taylor (director), Emma DIaz (producer), Isabel hudson (design), Clemmie Williams (sound), Veronique Bennett (lighting), Rebecca Blake (assistant director), Indiana Kwong (assistant producer), Bridget-Rose Dutoit (stage manager) and Linda Nicholls-Gidley (vocal coach).
*The Irish Times, Eileen Battersby, 3 June 2014.
above image by Clare Hawley