A Numbness in the Mouth takes place in an Ireland of the near-future; a self-sustaining, militarized island where climate change has benefited agricultural production. A spokesperson for the government’s Ministry of Food- speaking in the Irish language- informs us that due to a record crop yield of wheat there is a surplus of flour on the market, and the economic balance between supply and demand must be retained. To this end, rations are being enforced with each citizen requested to consume more than five pounds of flour per day.
Shackleton’s Mill in Strawberry Beds, Dublin, provides the context to explore our relationship to food, its production and consumption in a series of staged scenes, monologues and analogies. Interpolated into the film is an infomercial from the 1950s of a mother baking bread for her children. The two performers inhabit familiar roles and images of women in television which begin to unravel as they reflect on how food affects their temperament, bathe in a vat of orange jelly and sift flour onto their own heads.
The roles in the film are inhabited by Sinéad Ní Uallacháin (a broadcaster with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta) and Jenny Swingler (a performer, writer and theatre director based in London).
Kindly supported by Sky Academy Arts Scholarship, The Arts Council of Ireland, and Fingal Arts Office.