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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
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People have been writing beautiful things about falling in love on the Northside

Just wonderful.

A NEW PLAY on the axis: Ballymun stage has inspired people to write about their own experiences of falling in love.

The Northside Love Story project was inspired by The Good Father by Christian O’Reilly, which itself was inspired by his time living in northside Dublin.

Love for all

Emmet Kirwan and Nyree Yergainharsian

O’Reilly, who is also a writer on TV3′s Red Rock, explained:

I spent 12 years living in the Northside of Dublin – in Finglas, Glasnevin, Drumcondra and Phibsboro. I went to college in DCU and played amateur soccer with teams from Fairview and Santry. And I married a girl from Raheny. The Good Father was borne out of that experience and that world. One of the reasons I am so excited about the axis production is that for the first time it will be aimed at the very audience that inspired it.

The play stars Emmet Kirwan – known for Inside I’m Dancing – (2004), as Tim, and Nyree Yergainharsian (of The Company Theatre Co) as Jane. It follows their relationship from a random encounter at a New Year’s Eve party through a life-changing year.

Axis director Mark O’Brien, who is directing this production, told TheJournal.ie: “I was looking for something this year to look at the northside and what it means, and I read Christian’s play and it completely blew me away with the contemporary nature of the work – it hasn’t aged at all.”

The northside for life

While the ‘northside’ can be thought of as a monolithic entity, it is of course made up of different people from varying walks of life, as The Good Father attests to.

“It’s two people from very different northsides,” said O’Brien, “which resonated with the community we work with in Ballymun.”

Nyree Yergainharsian and Emmet Kirwan in The Good Father at Axis Source: Ste Murray

On one level it’s a very simple story about people meeting and through circumstances falling in and out of love. It’s not your archetypal play about the northside of Dublin.

The two characters meet accidentally, and the play “explores that caste system in Ireland where people can be living next door to each other but their worlds don’t meet because of the context in which their family grew up, or social standing.”

It’s not about northside/southside or rural/urban, it’s about neighbours.

Given that they like to see plays at axis as an opportunity for inclusivity, they decided to ask people to share their own northside love stories.

10 were chosen overall and one is read every night on stage by its author before the performance.

Mark said the stories varied, from stories about teens falling in love to newcomers to Ireland talking about their love for the northside.

“I was blown away by the response to it,” he said.

Your love

Here’s one of the chosen stories, Yours by Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan:

YoursI love when you wake me,I love you in summer

When an open window whispers the hush-bustle hum.But you’re a lover for all seasons, and as each one stutters

I watch as you change, and they go and they come.

Heel to toe, I trace your features

And drown in your smile made of brick and tar

Sometime’s sweet and true in a sunset pool

Sometime’s cracked and smeared with egg-yolk scars.

A familiar story I’ve heard again and again,

When you’re grey, I find I still smile every time,

On those mornings when I set out at 9.30am

Tracing my fingers down the curve of your spine

And so I cross your bridges, holding fingers to your pulse

A gunmetal artery, throbbing and ebbing.

And walk above the blood that keeps you going

Metres above I keep on treading.

You’re so lovely and shoddy in your history-brick glamour

With a gull screech and sirens, and bin-lid clatter,

Interrupted only by neighbourhood chatter

We’re never bound to one language on this side of the river.

When the day is done, you stroke my cheek with a breeze

And call me back, across a river and streets

To the Northside, to my home, in a place that fits me

And in your soft darkness I find my peace.

The Good Father runs until 21 March at axis: Ballymun.

Read: 9 things we learned behind the scenes of TV3′s new soap Red Rock>

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