April 2012        

Theatre

1981


At the New Theatre, Dublin; written and performed by Tony Devlin.

I went along to this play in this wonderfully unique theatre, where one can browse around reading progressive writings. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, but I took my two older children along to educate them and to see what their response would be.

     I was not let down in what was a truly emotional experience for this writer and brought back many memories. Even the music before the start etched in my mind my mother playing ballads on a Sunday morning. When the hunger strike was on I was seventeen years old and not very political, or should I say republican, and did not get involved. We went on a few marches, but my father and mother were always going on about bringing the police to our front door.
     I cannot understand where this actor got his energy from, it was all so compelling. The use of old film clips on the back wall added to the poignancy of the play. The multitude of accents from the actor was amazing: one second he was a speaker in the House of Commons, the next a native of Derry with that lovely accent, and then a screw in the prison.
     The use of the mattress and the main item, the Blanket, was in a way to me a surreal moment of going back to ’81, and I recalled the pure brutality of the hated UDR and British army. There was a lot of action in dealing with Bobby Sands’s reason for being in the H Blocks and time spent on that. One felt after the interval that it was a bit rushed; but all in all this was for me one of the best plays that I have ever been to.
[PD]

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