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Thank You for Pushing my Boundaries

That’s what my husband said to me in tones of mild bitterness earlier this evening. We went to see “The Boys of Foley Street” in the Dublin Theatre Festival. It was very hard to get tickets. This difficulty was explained when the tickets arrived with an explanatory note that there were only four audience members for each show. I was unnerved. Mr. Waffle said acidly, “I bet there’s going to be audience participation.” He was right.

Then I got this email:

Dear Anne,

Thank you for your recent booking of tickets to The Boys of Foley Street as part of Dublin Theatre Festival.

I am getting in touch with you now to let you know that since you made the booking we have learned that the production contains scenes of sexual violence. As this is a new piece and constantly evolving, we were not aware of this at the time of your booking. We want our audiences to enjoy every Festival show they attend and we felt it was important to update you so that you would have all the information available on the production.

We advise that The Boys of Foley Street is not suitable for patrons under 16 years of age, and that the production contains material that some may find disturbing.

Should you have any queries or concerns on the content of this material I would be happy to discuss these further with you.

Kind regards,

Box Office Manager
Dublin Theatre Festival

I have to say that my enthusiasm levels hit record lows. As Mr. Waffle and I trudged through the rain to the venue, I feared the worst. We were led to a car across the road and told to sit in. This documentary was playing on the radio. An alarming looking tramp with a bottle of cider under his arm came and knocked at the car window. Actor or local? Hard to tell but I suppose that this was part of the attraction. I rolled down the car window cautiously. He began to ramble but he seemed more likely to be an actor.

Then we were driven around this very depressed part of the city to a housing estate like this only not as pleasant. There were some locals drinking in a huddle in the corner (not actors) and we went into one of the flats where, alas, we were separated. The actors (lots of them) acted very dysfunctional lives just for you – all by yourself. It was really cleverly done, though intimidating. That was kind of the point, I suppose. I did find myself looking at the actors’ teeth showing fine orthodontic work and saying mentally, these people are not really alarming, violent, alcoholics. No they’re not.

I used the same technique in a back alley while a drug dealer was beaten up and I was holding the IRA man’s coat. [I subsequently found a picture of the actor on the internet drinking prosecco with his friends. My conscience is clear] Mr. Waffle was in a shed sitting in an old car while a dead body slid up and down the roof. Frankly, I wouldn’t have minded having him to hand as that would have stopped the actor playing the alarming tramp giving me a kiss (peck on the cheek, but still) because I was his girlfriend. We finished up in a meeting room where pushers were being denounced having been brought there by Macker the reassuring IRA man. When he left, we noticed that our pictures were on the walls. Possibly because we were on “the list”.

Still and all, highly recommended; there are no dull bits.

8 Responses to “Thank You for Pushing my Boundaries”

  1. Mark Says:

    That sounds extraordinary! Certainly puts our recent attempts at a little “culture” (Fab 4 tribute show at the local theatre) into perspective.

  2. Brendan Says:

    Of course we were all waiting to hear about the sex.

  3. nicola Says:

    Oh my god you are brave. I wouldn’t have got in the car myself.

  4. admin Says:

    Mark, well, I wasn’t performing, at least, not voluntarily. B, I suppose you’ll have to go yourself. N, I’d paid for the tickets. It was raining.

  5. Dot Says:

    What Nicola said.

    It does sound very clever, but one of the things theatre does is give us a moderately safe space in which to examine the unsafe and have more intelligent reactions than one does when meeting it in real life. This sounds so like real life that a lot of the normal social/psychic defences to life’s awfulness have to be in place, and I wonder therefore whether it actually shuts off some of the reflections that might have arisen in a more artificial or stylised setting, such as a theatre. I suppose you can be reflective afterwards. But in a theatre you can sympathise with a tramp, whereas in a car on a rough housing estate you just want him to go away, actor or not.

  6. CAD Says:

    I get nervous sitting in the first row of the theater, it’s so uncomfortably close to the action. Yuur experience sounds excruciating but fascinating

  7. admin Says:

    Dot, hmm, definitely not safe. I have certainly been very reflective afterwards…
    CAD, that about sums it up.

  8. belgianwaffle » More Theatre Says:

    […] dramatics. Certainly as a tale of what was happening in 70s Dublin it was infinitely inferior to “The Boys of Foley Street“. Nobody was […]

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