Blue Teapot challenge taboos in new play about relationshipsSeptember 27, 2012 - 7:00am
Fans of EastEnders who keep an eye on their screens while when the credits are rolling during the next few weeks, will notice the name of Galway based writer, Christian O’Reilly.
Christian won a place on a hotly contested BBC Writers Course last year, and part of the deal is that he has to write for the broadcaster’s popular soap operas. He’s already worked on episodes of Holby City and Casualty and next up it’s the flagship drama, EastEnders. If the BBC commissioning editors are happy that he can write for all three, they have the option of offering him a long-term contract.
He is delighted to have been selected as one of eight participants from hundreds of applicants as “it was an opportunity to develop and sharpen my writing skills. It also opens up other avenues into UK work”.
Despite this busy schedule Christian, who is best known to local audiences for the Druid play The Good Father, and the film Inside I’m Dancing, has also found time to work with city theatre group, Blue Teapot on a new play which will open next week.
Blue Teapot is company where adults with a learning disability stage professional productions, with the quality of both the material and the performances being second to none.
In Sanctuary, Christian’s new play for the group, which was commissioned by Blue Teapot director Petal Pilley, the actors explore the issue of love, relationships and sex. These are subjects that are often taboo when it comes to people with intellectual disabilities.
As Christian points out “it’s difficult enough for a person to meet someone and fall in love without having other difficulties to overcome”.
Sanctuary is the story of a couple, Larry and Sophie who want to be alone together and who persuade their care-giver, Tom to help them steal away during a group trip to the cinema. How they cope when they are alone in the unfamiliar surroundings of a hotel room forms the centre of the piece. Meanwhile, back in the cinema, other relationships are developing as the possibility of love becomes real for people.
“The play is about the challenges the characters face, either at home or in care homes,” says the playwright. “Petal was interested in exploring how people with intellectual disabilities can have the opportunity to be together and have the time and space to get to know each other and fall in love.”
But their needs have to be addressed in the context of the “understandable needs by parents, families and caregivers to protect people with intellectual disability”, he adds, especially when some people have been the victims of sex abuse.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.