THE UNKNOWN X
A New Play by Ed Edwards
Selected for NEWCASTLE LIVE’S ELEVATOR FESTIVAL.
Due to be shown: THE FIRST NIGHT OF LOCK DOWN – ARRGGHH!!
The play - a follow up to The Political History of Smack and Crack - is wrought from interviews with ex-IRA members, English criminals and armed robbers, and the writings of British soldiers who served in the north of Ireland, all of whom who were active in the early 1980s.
Set during the climax of the hunger strikes of 1981 - also the days before the 1981 mainland riots in which all the major cites of England burned in anti-police uprisings - the play follows both the story of a day in the life of an IRA unit as they ambush the British army and the short, sharp career of a Manchester thief who joins the army and ends up on the other side of the ambush.
The story shows both sides of the story – a British youth from Manchester who has little else to do but join the British army – and three youths from Belfast who have little choice but to fight the brutal occupation of their city. By the time the climax of the story comes and the deadly ambush occurs – and of course goes badly wrong – the audience are rooting for both sides at the same time.
This is not a drama that pitches good against evil in the usual way of war stories - and especially those set in the north of Ireland. This is youth pitched against youth in a desperate struggle to survive the times in which they live, tossed this way and that by forces far greater than themselves.
The play is in the end an intense thriller to grip you by the throat, wring your heart out and make you think again about this war and all the wars of occupation and resistance since.