Quiety Receives A Standing Ovation On Opening Night At The Lyric
Quietly, received a standing ovation on its opening night at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and deservedly so.
Owen McCafferty is a very well respected playwright having premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2012 followed by a successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
It was a refreshing look at the theme of reconciliation centred around the Troubles with a tight cast of three running without an interval for the full length adding to its dramatic flow. The raw energy of two ordinary people caught up and suffering in the Troubles is well demonstrated in the tense brooding character of Jimmy played by Patrick O’Kane who always seemed on the verge of direct violence as a response to his personal grief, his unfinished business.
Jimmy had lost his father in a pub bombing along with five others while they were watching Poland play Northern Ireland in the World Cup. The UVF bomber, Ian (Declan Conlon) was the same age as Jimmy, 16 years old, 36 years ago. The exchange between the two is witnessed by the Polish barman, a soccer buff.
Both characters had lived with the trauma for 36 years and were now processing it through this tense meeting in the bar. Both struggle through their own subjectivities to determine the truth of what happened. But in the end can there be real reconciliation of just a quiet realisation of each others positions? This resonates the core issue of the truth and reconciliation process currently in the public spotlight.
As the action unfolds, Jimmy says: “being sorry has no meaning – i don’t know what sorry is – is it you saying if you had to do it al again you wouldn’t”
Ian: “… now as a man – ian gibson feels that he did as a sixteen-year-old kid was wrong – and wasn’t worth it.”
Jimmy: “if I believed in god I’d say it’s him that deals in right and wrong.
Ian ” i didn’t have to come here.”
Jimmy: “yes you did.”
Ian: “maybe it’s just about talking
Ian: “and listening.”
Interestingly, the set was a fresh relatively modern bar scene, the older bar having been destroyed in the bomb blast. There is too a poignant verbal ‘in your face’ dialogue, keeping the Belfast humour and the action at its best.
The play ends after Ian and Jimmy leave and the Polish barman grabs his baseball bat when a mob outside shouts racist abuse at Poles reminding the audience that Ian and Jimmy may have ‘reconciled’ but the wider society has endemic sectarian problems to deal with still.
Quietly runs on the Danske Bank Stage at the Lyric from Tues 8 to Sun 13 April, including Sat matinee at 2.30pm and Sun matinee at 1.30pm. Tickets range from £10 – £22.
Please check the Lyric website for info on post-show talks, performance times, and to book:
or contact the Box Office on (028) 9038 1081.