This is Paradise, Michael John O'Neill’s new play at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, is a lengthy monologue in which Kate (Amy Molloy) provides a complex interweaving of the personal and the political in Northern Ireland.
A complex interweaving of the personal and the political
Born and raised in Belfast, Malloy has the perfect accent to tell this story that is deeply rooted in the Province. Standing on a boardwalk at the centre of an otherwise empty stage, with only moody cloud and wave projections behind her and haunting sounds to accompany her tale, she cuts a lean and mesmerised figure. Direction by Katherine Nesbitt leaves her physically isolated, ensuring the focus remains on her and the tale she has to tell with no distractions.
Nothing in that part of the world ever seems to be free from trouble in one form or another and Kate’s life is no exception. The Good Friday Agreement brought a form of resolution to a turbulent history and provided hope for the future, but Kate is doubtful that she will ever find such a process of reconciliation with her past or bright prospects for what lies ahead. Currently she’s expecting a baby with her rather dull husband Brendy, but wonders if her frail body will survive the pain. It brings to the fore recollections of the teenage love she lost in a tragic accident and the way she was groomed into an under-age relationship with Diver, one of the many in her company of whom her father disapproved. He was some twenty years older than her and when he’d done he ditched her for another young girl. Now she receives news that he’s in a mess and is asked to help him.
Thus, her troubled existence moves on to a future as uncertain as that of her homeland. Will either ever find lasting peace?