“Maybe I’ve told that version of the story so often,
that I can’t remember the truth of it anymore.“
Rosemary Hennigan ~ The Truth Will Out
Dara Gaffney is fresh out of drama school when she lands the leading role in the revival of Eabha de Lacey’s hugely successful yet controversial play.
Based on the true story of the death of Cillian Butler, many claim that Eabha had an ulterior motive when she penned it. Cillian’s death remains a mystery to this day, and Eabha and her brother, Austin, the only witnesses.
As the media storm builds and the opening night draws closer, the cast find it harder and harder to separate themselves from the characters.
As the truth of Cillian’s fate becomes clear, Dara’s loyalty to her role will be irrevocably questioned as the terrible history starts to repeat itself..
The smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd… theatre is a wondrous thing. For audience and cast it’s a chance to escape, to lose yourself in the moment or in a character.
Yet for actors there’s a fine line between you and your role. To really understand the character, you must embody it. At times the lines can become blurred – is it you feeling those emotions, or your character?
The Truth Will Out considers this fascinating concept. After tragedy strikes a school friend, Eabha chooses to channel her grief into writing a play about the night’s events.
Now, she is choosing to revive it with a new cast.
This starts off as a page turner. The first few chapters provide a real sense of foreboding and anticipation – I actually had goosebumps – as we are carried away in the excitement, but all too aware that this can only end in tragedy.
Henderson paints a vivid picture of a life on stage, capturing the imposter syndrome, fear and excitement actors and directors feel during the process. There are so many stages to putting on a play and we see these perfectly captured in Dara’s journey to become Eabha.
While the journey is well-written and observed, there is a lack of true connection between Dara and Eabha. I would have liked more drama once she ‘finds’ the character; despite living with Eabha, we don’t see Dara’s final result in so much detail which is a shame.
I was also expecting a lot more drama – the climax, although expected, could have been a bit more shocking. It feels glossed over somehow; it could have been better explored through Dara and Eabha’s reactions in particular.
Dara’s final decision is also odd. Perhaps if we’d seen more of her transition into Eabha for the role, it would have made more sense. As it is, it seems very out of character.
Overall it’s a good story, that does provide insight into how actors prepare for and embody characters. There is also a fair amount of drama and excitement, but this is not maintained until the end and the book doesn’t feel like a true thriller.
Book provided by Orion Books. Opinions my own.
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