(from 2012 for the current Dublin Fringe Festival please visit this link)
I was lucky enough to secure a place at an unpaid preview of Percolate’s n)ew production and I can state, for the record, that I have never before been to a play like “Green Street”.
I felt less like a member of an audience and more like a ‘witness’, a student or a silent extra. The tales of Green Street Courthouse and examples of famous cases it saw were unfolded before me in bite size portions throughout the performance.
As witnesses, we were divided into four groups, each assigned a guide. We were ushered around the courthouse and shown through various doors where the history of the building comes alive through the characters of prisoners, lawyers, an attorney general and judges.
You will need your wits about you as the action of the play casually serves up different time periods the Courthouse has seen.
The climax of the play is where the four groups of ‘witnesses’ are gathered together in the actual courtroom and we almost ‘take part’ in the three infamous trials which span over two centuries.
The trials are as follows.
- Noel and Marie Murray, who were awarded the death sentence in 1976 for the murder of Garda Michael Reynolds (this was later overturned but still they served life for murder).
- The Maamtrasna Murders of a Connemara family which ended in a gross miscarriage of justice.
- The courtroom scene peaks with the trial of Robert Emmet and his now famous “Speech from the Dock”, 209 years ago this week. He was hanged and beheaded for his part in organising the failed rebellion of 1803.
This structure lends itself to attending the play more than once because, depending on what guide you are assigned, the scenes and final seating in the courtroom are all in a different order and angle.
“Green Street” gives you an insightful and balanced glimpse of the passions on both sides of the law as our country struggled with the occupation by England and its own wobbly steps of independence.
I dare you not to leave illuminated and with a fresh taste for Irish history and its Justice system.
Directed by Paul Meade.
Written by Sarah Binchy, Gill McCaw
Geoff Power and Pauline Shanahan.
Unfortunately “Green Street”‘s run in Dublin Fringe Festival 2012 sold out in over the first weekend.
Did you see it?
Do you want to see it come back?
Please let me know.
Produced by Percolate Theatre Company.