This is Paradise

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?

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The Blurb

'You lookyou seethere's not an inch of waiting left in anyone round here.'

10 April 1998, Belfast.

The Good Friday Agreement is signed, bringing the prospect and threat of momentous change to Northern Ireland.

At the same moment, at the other end of the city, a river is rising in Kate. A phone call from a desperate stranger forces Kate to confront the legacy of an ex-lover and discover what the end of violence means for a body that won’t stop breaking.

At once timely and timeless in its nuanced observation of the fragility of peace, This is Paradise is a powerful monologue exploring what it takes from us to begin again. Written by Michael John O'Neill, the play was discovered through our Open Submissions initiative and has received ongoing support from the Traverse Artistic team during its development. Our reading panel championed the piece for Michael's assured and compelling voice.

This limited run of in-person performances directed by Katherine Nesbitt (Associate director: Mouthpiece. Assistant director: Swallow) offers audiences an exciting opportunity to see this intimate piece as it continues its journey towards a full Traverse production and beyond.

This is Paradise will be performed in Traverse 1, with a reduced audience capacity and 1m social distancing in place. The performance will be available to stream on-demand from 1 Sep.

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