Light Over Belfast

I’m heading off to Ireland this Wednesday, for a jaunt through the West Country. So it seemed fitting that before I step into the the mystical land of dolmens, bogs, and Yeats, I experience a dose of modern Irish reality. Saturday night I went to see a play about a city one associates not with green but with grim grit – Belfast.

Solas Nua is performing Owen McCafferty’s complex montage “Scenes from the Big Picture” at my alma mater Catholic University’s Callan Theater through June 24. It’s part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland initiative that’s currently taking place as a build-up to Northern Ireland’s inclusion in the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival. Peter Marks gives it a rousing review in today’s Post.

The play weaves myriad characters of questionable likability – apathetic teens, drug dealers, cheating husbands, estranged families – in a quickening gyre of urban life. There’s no sunny blarney here, only the fierce determination of living under difficult and dangerous conditions. But at the end one is left with a strong sense of the tenacity of hope against despair, with a beautiful final image of an old man removing his cap, paying homage to his dead wife as a magical meteor shower bathes him in light.

Be sure to check out the Rediscover Northern Ireland site for a fresh look at an area that’s suffered more than its share of grief, and raise a pint to the Irish spirit.

1 Comment so far

  1. Julie (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

    Have a lovely time in Ireland!

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