A new play about an unheard-of subject – arranged marriages in Ireland – has been chosen to open the King’s Head Theatre festival of new writing, Festival 47, this July.
Inspired by the writer’s grandmother who had an arranged marriage, Body & Blood, by Lorraine Mullaney, is a dark comedy that tackles a tough subject with humour and live music.
Body & Blood tells the story of an Irish girl who arrives in London in 1956 looking for her sister, who has run away from Ireland to escape an arranged marriage with a man “with a face like the Turin shroud”. But, instead of finding her sister, Aileen meets Jimmy, Uncle Colm’s young drinking and betting partner. Jimmy shows her a new side of life, full of freedom and possibilities. Will Aileen choose this new life or return to Ireland and make the sacrifices required to stay true to her roots?
The drama explores the conflicts and culture clash that result from migration and the pull of traditional Irish values. With Ireland recently electing its first openly gay prime minister, the play highlights how far Ireland has come since the 1950s.
Second-generation Irish writer, Lorraine Mullaney says: “When my mother got engaged to my father in 1960, my grandmother told her she’d come to her marriage with my grandfather with a dowry and cows but my mother had come to hers with nothing. The story always fascinated me.”
Performance dates and times
Body & Blood is the first play from new company Unclouded Moon Productions.
Festival 47 at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN
10, 11 and 12 July at 6.30pm. Duration 1 hour.
Tickets at £12 are available from the Box Office on 0207 226 8561 firstname.lastname@example.org
Director: Fumi Gomez
Pamela Flanagan – Aileen
JB Newman – Jimmy
Luke McGibney – Colm
Sorcha Brooks – Pegeen
Lighting/Sound: Alistair Lindsey