The White Swan
In The White Swan, a short online monologue written and performed by Grace O’Leary, the audience is cast in the role of counsellor.
Niamh O'Donovan (O’Leary) and her husband Ben have achieved professional success but been unable to have children. As they grow older, Ben proposes they adopt, and the suggestion awakens memories of a youthful indiscretion by Niamh. She uses her time with the counsellor to explore the consequences of her actions and speaks to us direct through the camera.
The White Swan is a mature drama; Niamh’s analysis of her behaviour is restrained rather than hysterical. She is sufficiently self-aware to be able to put her actions in context and consider possible reasons for her conduct. The overall tone of the play is one of regret rather than guilt. Niamh is aware the event was of little emotional concern but knows she must come to terms with the outcome.
O’Leary’s performance follows the tone of the play being a model of understatement. There is little physical movement, but it is clear from the occasional pause in her speech and sudden inability to maintain eye contact how much she is struggling to keep her emotions under control.
The White Swan is a gentle exploration of regret and well worth seeking out online.
Reviewer: David Cunningham