Review: The Big Idea – PIIGS, Ireland, – Royal Court via YouTube

“I had a completely ungrounded confidence, financially”

The Irish incarnation of The Big Idea featured Protest by Deirdre Kinehan, with its parents at a school meeting debating the ethics of austerity and particularly the effects that cuts in education threaten to make in their school. It’s quite an intimate piece, its concerns perhaps a little inwards –looking but for me that is where its strengths lie, in dramatizing the kind of everyday situation that people under austerity are facing. It isn’t all headlines news and high-profile decisions, but rather the slowly tightening screw of small cut after small cut taking over almost every aspect of people’s lives.

Following that was Kieran Hurley’s Belcoo, a less successful play for me, looking at the G8 protests, as fake shop fronts are erected in a Northern Ireland town and three people debate the ins and outs of plastic fruit. Again though, I found the verbatim pieces more fascinating than the dramatic writing itself, especially the Stephen Carswell section. There’s something truly educational about the staging of such brutally frank conversations about the financial crisis that works so much better than trying to dramatise it fictionally and it would have been good to see at least one play that was entirely based on this format.


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