File photo: New play tackles important subject
Aimed at young people in Kildare, a new hard hitting play by Celbridge's Cathy Conlon which tackles the subject of suicide, is due to be staged in Maynooth in the New Year.
Out of the Blue will be performed on January 4 at 4pm at The Glenroyal Hotel with proceeds going to the Abbey Community Project Celbridge.
Out Of The Blue, narrated in turn by Banjo, an eighteen year-old who has died by suicide, and in part, by his mother, Alice, offers a review of Banjo’s life as he speaks from the grave, recalling the events leading to his death.
Banjo is about to sit his Leaving Certificate, but is disenchanted with life, and sees little point in doing exams. Unable to disclose his distress out of fear that it may seem unmanly, he plummets further and further into a depressive state which manifests in displays of anger and excessive drinking. Eventually he decides to end his suffering by taking his own life. In death he is seen to regret his decision, as he realises that help had always been available to him. Now, he is left to observe the devastating effects of his actions on those left behind.
Out Of The Blue examines the role of addiction in suicide ideation and addresses the possible causes for drug addiction, such as non-disclosure of distress particularly in young males which leads to a sense of alienation and loneliness.
“I wrote this play for the Celbridge drama group and the story sort of wrote itself,” says Cathy, who has noted the substantial increase in suicide in Celbridge/Maynooth and other parts of Kildare in recent years.
“I personally know people who lost loved ones to suicide, and I saw the devastation of those who were bereaved in this way.”
Cathy worked for some years in the Dublin public library service, in areas affected by the illegal drug trade. In many of these areas suicide was at a premium level. Later, her knowledge of the subject was increased through Sociology studies, Conlon took as a mature student in Maynooth University.
“There are many broader societal reasons for suicide ideation, such as relationship breakdown and the non-disclosure of distress in men in particular,” Conlon says.
“This led me to explore the subject in greater detail, and so, when the local drama group in Celbridge approached me three years ago and asked me to write a short play, I decided to focus on this particular area.”
The play’s production prompted requests for repeat performances which drew a large audience each time. The aim now is to target students 16+ who would benefit from the play’s anti-suicide message. People of all ages are welcome to attend, supporting the Abbey Community Project, a charity dealing with the issues of suicide and addiction.