SOLDIERS OF THE QUEEN
|'Every time, just before they fired the big gun, every time, the Boers blew a whistle to get their men to stand back... the mocking birds learned to mimic the whistle... it was odd to hear the Long Tom thundering away with those many little whistles warning of the shells that were coming in on top of us.'|
|Centre Stage can announce that its Autumn production for 2002 will be the debut play by the Ulster poet Damian Smyth. Soldiers of the Queen is a full-scale stage work, bringing the tradition of Ulster playwriting to bear on a frightening stand-off between cultures, values and personalities across three continents and down one hundred years of a family‘s history.|
On the night of February 23rd, 1900, on Hart‘s Hill overlooking Ladysmith in South Africa, two soldiers face each other in the darkness across 200 yards of no-man‘s-land. A wounded Inniskilling Fusilier from Downpatrick in Co Down is flush in the gunsights of a Boer patriarch who has seen his sons slaughtered before him.
The scene is set for a remarkable night of the soul in which the bleak fatal hill is populated in turns by shades of the dead, shadows of the living and hauntings by those not yet born, against a backdrop of racial prejudice, music hall mood, gallows humour and the complex, unexpected allegiances of the Irish.
Better known as a poet and critic, Damian Smyth has taken as theme some hundred years of his family‘s experiences, furthering the writer‘s excavation of the culture, politics and character of his native town and its troubled province. It is a moving, compassionate, eloquent work, serving as an elegy for those injured by whatever means in conflict in forgotten places at home as well as abroad.
|Click on the thumnails to view a larger picture|
|Boer and Tommy|
|Mother and Son||Happier Times||Ghosts from the Past|
* * DOWNPATRICK ARTS CENTRE * *
and then during
* * October - November 2002 * *
THE BELFAST FESTIVAL at QUEENS
October - November 2002