It’s a play about teen drinking. It’s about sexuality and family and loss and uncertainty too. But it’s mostly about teen drinking. Binge drinking specifically. You know binge drinking. You do it in your teens and then it becomes legal and you grow out of it after a few years. Or you don’t. Anyway, it’s been around for a few years and it’s not going away any time soon, so we thought we might do a wee play about it. It’s ok though, it’s a funny one. There’s dancing and strobe lights and video and Jack Rogers and all those magical things you usually like from us. The actors are really getting into their roles now and we’ve tricked some proper professionals into doing lighting and set and film with us, so it really is shaping up to be something special.
But we will be talking about teen drinking. And it may lead to some awkward conversations. In fact, I personally won’t be happy with the production unless it does. Because underage binge drinking is our big open secret in this country. There’s so much tacit acceptance of its prevalence that it’s easy to forget that no one ever actually comes straight out and talks about it in public (such is the Irish way). The kids all know it’s illegal and the adults don’t want to seem like hypocrites, so silence is the equilibrium. It’s the threat of mutually assured embarrassment that’s keeping us from talking.
So fuck it. We’re going to talk about it. And maybe we’ll all decide that actually it’s all fine, and it’s ok if we’re a little bit addicted to poison if it helps us talk to people we think are sexy. Or maybe we’ll all agree that yes we drink too much too often and yes it’s a problem, but there’s nothing we can do about it and after all it’s a part of our culture, like leprechauns or emotional incompetence. Or maybe we’ll stop hiding behind excuses and actually change our behaviour. Who knows? Here at DYT, we have a tendency to make a lot of plays about “society”, but strangely this isn’t really one of them. This is more a play about us. Literally us twenty or so people involved in the production. This is our story, our perspective, and if we can start by being honest about ourselves, then maybe you can meet us halfway and be honest about yourself too.
If we have one request of you it’s this: please don’t imagine you’re an expert before you’ve seen what we have to show you. Small children aren’t allowed come see this show, so presumably the vast majority of you will have some significant experience in dealing with copious amounts of alcohol, and you’ve probably learned many valuable lessons along the way. But that’s your experience. It can’t account for the myriad different ways that people’s lives and attitudes and beliefs have been altered by this substance, only one of which is actually portrayed in this play. We’re not experts either, so we’re going to try our best not to preach, or tell you how to live your life, or make you feel guilty, but we are going to try and show you our side of the story. And maybe, once we’ve told you a bit about that thing we’re not supposed to talk about, and we know you’ve all listened, then we can start to have a conversation. Because right now that doesn’t seem to be happening. So let’s try to get off on the right foot, ok?
First though, we’ll need to try and get some grounding in reality. So next week, I’ll be going over some of the research into who drinks, why and how it affects us. You can bear all that in mind the week after when we’ll start posting interviews with your friends and children about their time as binge drinkers.
Until then, why not pass the time by booking a ticket to come see our show? It’s called The Leaving by Tom Swift, it’s on in The Droichead Arts Centre from September 2-4 and tickets are €9/€12. You can book tickets here: http://www.droichead.com/show/873557483 or by phoning this number: 041 983 3946 or by going to the box office at the Droichead Arts Centre.
If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol and would like to talk about it, here are some good places to do that: http://drinkhelp.ie/get-help/useful-links/