The story tellers of whose story?

Saturday 15 at 8pm, Belltable.

TAKING place this Saturday 15 in Belltable at 8pm, word on ‘Heather’ is that it is “a short, sharp play about language, prejudice and the power of stories.” Written by Thomas Eccleshare and directed by Liam Halligan, there will be an after-show discussion with the creative team mediated with the audience on themes raised. What themes are these?

There has been controversy about white-skinned, first world literary writers appropriating the voice, stories and (their idea of) the experiences of our third world brothers and sisters.

Case in point is the novel ‘American Dirt’ by Jeanine Cummins, to do with a Mexican mother and child creeping into the USA after a gang kills their family. Consider also Edna O’Brien’s novel ‘Girl’ which is about the young schoolgirls, one in particular focus, taken hostage by Nigeria’s Boko Haram as child brides and baby carriers.

So controversy is not about the dignity accorded to the subject matter. It has to do with why ‘persons of other colour’ don’t have the same opportunities to voice, write and publish their experiences first hand in the Western world.

What Belltable gives us about the play ‘Heather’ is that “a reclusive children’s writer becomes wildly successful. Her books are treasured across the country. But when a troubling narrative starts to unfold, we find ourselves asking: what matters more, the storyteller or the story?” Thomas Eccleshare is a multi-award winning writer; Denis Clohessy composed Heather’s score and the actors are Aenne Barr and Dermot Magennis.

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