Donal Ryan (Rory), Matt Treacy (the stranger) and Paula Drohan (Maddy)
Thurles Drama Group’s festival play Gut, by Frances Poet, opens in the Source Arts Centre on Monday, February 17 for a six night run.
Gut is a taut psychological thriller that asks who can be trusted with our children, and is it more dangerous not to trust at all?
The play is a vision of contemporary society where hyper -vigilance has replaced a sense of community and helpfulness.
Gut was first performed at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival in 2015 and Thurles Drama group are delighted to have the rights for this exciting and challenging contemporary play.
Maddy and Rory are devoted parents to three- year old Joshua, committed to keeping him happy and safe. While they are away celebrating an anniversary, Morven, Rory’s supportive mother looks after the child.
However, on returning home, Morven recalls an incident in a supermarket café, which in their minds becomes far more troubling and their trust in those closest to them is shattered. They are flung into a well of paranoia.
Gnawing away at Maddy is the possibility - just the possibility - that a stranger has abused her toddler, Joshua. Such is her protective instinct that she now perceives everyone as a potential danger to her child.
Maddy’s neurotic mistrust of the world leads her to a dark place. Maddy gradually – and all too believably – falls into a spiral of terror about what might have happened to him, that eventually threatens to destroy her life. She gives up work, takes Joshua out of nursery, and bans Morven from any involvement with her grandson.
We are told constantly that we are living in an age of rage; but rage is often nothing more than thinly disguised terror, and the power of Frances Poet’s brilliant and intense new play, lies in the ruthless honesty with which she lays bare the inner workings of our ‘age of fear.’
All along this downward spiral, we re-engage with a culture which once needed a collective approach to child-rearing, and therefore dangerously ignored the possibility of abuse in the family and community; but which has now recognised the phenomenon, and simply has no idea where to draw the line in labelling every stranger and non-stranger a potential predatory paedophile.
Gut is unashamedly an “issue” play, that will ask hard questions but also has a levity and easy dialogue that entertains wonderfully.
As a piece of pure contemporary drama, Gut is gripping and brilliantly directed by Margaret McCormack who is no stranger to the challenges of the competitive circuit in Ireland and the standards needed to succeed.
There is a cast of five; Maddy (Paula Drohan), Rory (Donal Ryan), Morven (Mary Condron), the stranger (Matt Tracey) and Joshua (Rory O'Gorman).
The play holds the audience spellbound because Maddy’s uncertainty is so plausible; when it comes to the crunch, how good is anybody’s gut instinct? Chaos is just around the corner.