Myra’s Story, review

Myra Mc Laughlin is a foul-mouthed, feisty, street drinker. She is also immensely funny and self-deprecating. Myra never wallows in self-pity as she gives us a hilarious, moving, and ultimately heartbreaking account of her fall from grace from fresh faced teenage bride living in ‘me da’s corpo house’ in Tallaght, to the pitiful condition we find her in today. You’ll split your sides laughing with Myra. You’ll break your heart crying with Myra. What you’ll never do … is forget her.
And forget her I certainly hadn’t from seeing her quite a few years ago in Derry. However, this most recent production has developed the story a little more and transferred Myra from Derry to Dublin. An avid lover of the fair city, I was immediately drawn to just how rooted this new production is in Dublin
From curtain up in Derry last week, till curtain closed, it really was a matter of laughing out loud, wiping the tears, and endless silences.  Fionna Hewitt -Twamley has captured the very essence of Myra brilliantly. 
This isn’t just a play about alcoholism and homelessness. It’s a play showcasing the trauma of fractured families, cot death, young love, the troubles and it’s just contemporary in every such way. It shows the reality of the current crisis we have right here in Ireland, and most especially in Dublin, of homelessness. It shows how the ‘Beast’ really does grab you and take over your life. A very common problem amongst we Irish. 
Foster has rewritten this play so that it heightens our awareness of these issues even more. It’s made us aware that this is very real and very now. Máire/Myra may have been around for almost 20 years, but the issues she covers on that stage are very much part of the modern day. And issues which continually need addressing.

What I loved most about this production was the very real, human touch which Fionna brought to the stage. She made us the audience feel very involved and she made us feel both scared and ashamed. Scared, because we don’t know how to deal a homeless person, and ashamed for every time we have ALL walked past and ignored a homeless person. We immediately envisage these people as being dangerous or scary. We continually put our heads down and walk on (yes we are all guilty of having done such), but Fionna made us (well, certainly me) stop and think about this. And she made me, make a promise to myself that next time I’m in Dublin, I really am going to stop and speak to one such person. Maybe even hear their story. Maybe even help them in a small way by giving them my coffee that day.
 This production made me stop and think.

Maybe now, it’s time we all stopped and thought about one small way, we might be able to help. Instead of ignoring, maybe we could give a little. 
It’s the genius that is Foster’s writing that allows this play to live on. It really is a ‘timeless’ piece of theatre and sadly, it’s also a universal piece. This is everywhere. But if it has the impact on others that it’s had on me, then it’s destined to help us, the audience to become more aware, and hopefully help those on the street, get more help and assistance.
Myra’s Story is currently on tour in Ireland and very very worth a visit. Yet another of Brian Foster’s plays you won’t be disappointed in.


GMcC

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