I have seen three productions while in Dublin so far : Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy, Grease the Musical, and Sive. Now, that being said, Grease the Musical, is not what I’d like to focus on – even if it was a fun time filled with classic “American-ness”. Since I am in Ireland the two others plays, Borstal Boy and Sive, were the ones that hit home the most. The most fascinating thing about the two plays was the sheer amount I learned by watching them. Yes, we had learned about Irish history in this class, yes we had talked extensively about the IRA, the revolution, and the freedom fighting. Yes, we had discussed the early Republic of Ireland, when they just began as their own country and how long it took Ireland to come into its’ own as a modern country. But these two plays provided something much more than just a lecture could cover – it gave me insight into what the people were like. Borstal Boy enters around a young boy just 16, a part of the IRA, and sent to London to plant a bomb. He gets arrested and most of the action is with him in the various prisons and camps. This play stressed the fact that most of the young boys in the IRA, fighting for freedom and one Irish state, didn’t even know what they were getting themselves into. Not to mention, it was a true story narrated along with the man who was actually there. Sive focuses around a young girl who gets forced into marriage by a matchmaker and her conflicted uncle and aunt with an old, yet wealthy, man. This play, whilst still remaining to be funny, was high drama in the fact that it showed such a disconnect with the older and younger generations of Ireland. Sive, the main character, wants to continue her schooling and marry a young boy – even if there isn’t as much security. But, the aunt and uncle feel that this is the best for her not taking into consideration her thoughts. These two productions truly helped me understand Irish history, culture, and most importantly, the people who built where I am living today.
By Daniel Lim