Chronicles of Long Kesh (a Ten Days on the Island review)

Our second and last sampling of the Ten Days on the Island Festival was Martin Lynch’s “Chronicles of Long Kesh” It is a startling play. I found it seriously affecting and uproariously funny on levels perhaps a bit deeper than most of the Tasmanian audience. It is, I suppose, embedded in my folk memory, as well as taking me back to some of my own personal earliest memories. I felt I know some of the characters, they were so well written and acted. One of them sounded like an uncle, another looked like a different uncle, and one even had the name of an uncle! Given that the reach of the infamous Long Kesh was to directly involve 1 in 10 of the population of Northern Ireland as either inmate or officer, it is not surprising how the emotions stirred run a little raw even though much time has passed, and much water has flowed under bridges. The play is simultaneously balanced and yet partisan. Ultimately however, as in the line that is quoted in the play, it represents the simple fact that “life is what happens to us while we are making other plans” (maybe from John Lennon, or maybe from Allen Saunders?) and our lives occur against a historical backdrop which is (usually) not of our choosing. We only choose how we respond to what life throws at us.


About dreapadoir

Emergency Physician, author of Emergency Medicine blog, photographer at
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