Wow just Wow The Red Iron by Jim Nolan
When you are crossing Rice Bridge in Waterford City and you look up river you will see a second bridge that has seen better days know locally as The Red Iron Bridge. Now for many of us in Waterford of a certain age, The Red Iron was a place that we often visited and well let’s be honest, got up to devilment. Many a couple were often seen walking lovingly hand in hand across the bridge and I suppose many a break up happened out there too.
Jim Nolan, who is a national asset it has to be said, had a stroke of genius and wrote a play that centered around the rusty relic and sentinel of our past that was such a part of so many people’s lives.
Now playing at Garter Lane Art Centre on O’Connell Street in Waterford, we went along to the official opening night last Tuesday. We had no expectations what so ever but we did know one thing and that was we wouldn’t be disappointed and boy were we right.
From start to finish I was part of the play. When I say I was part of the play, I could relate to not only the storyline but also the characters it was like an out-of-body experience there is no other way to describe it.
Love, hate, betrayal, comradeship, anxiety, anger, guilt, revenge, humour, darkness every feeling and want of our delicate human spirit.
It wasn’t a play or a show to me it was real life. The set design was so good it was as if I was there sitting on the bridge with the cast reminiscing about a childhood long gone and those carefree years of hanging around with your mates, laughing and joking, ah the memories.
As a gang of friends meet up some 30 years later for a funeral of a friend it was decided by the main character to meet on the central span of The Red Iron Bridge, which is now on land beside the river, to celebrate the past and rejig their past with a humour that is truly Waterford.
But the story line turns to the reason why the ‘gang of friends’ met up on that fateful day in September 2017 some 30 years later. Banter, beer and even some dope lightened the mood but as is often the case it led to deep feelings and dark places coming to the surface.
Emer Ward- Powell on her Facebook page wrote the following,
“It starts with a gathering on the tracks. The air is filled with place names, people and language, familiar mostly to locals. Light-hearted moments of clever funny light lines …lots of banter, and then, when you least expect it…BOOM! Before you know it…you are caught in your seat, in the eye of the storm, extreme pent up anger, guilt, shame, confusion, the sense of a dark secret bursting at the seams to come out”.
“All this, fuelled by alcohol and pot, and no way of holding it in, the story unfolds, building, slowly. Emotional…..peaks n’ troughs! Peaks n’ troughs! Peaks n’ troughs. Halfway through the first act…tears welled up in my eyes, and never left that spot…not even during the light moments….every personality on that bridge I have known in my own lifetime. Reminiscences close to the bone, and an underlying sense of loss…loss of: your childhood friends, your ‘ gang’ , respect, time, family, love, forgiveness, and loss of life…..huge losses…this is no walk in the park…this is no picnic….
I’m Exhausted “….
There are only a few tickets left so get your’s today!
Well done Jim Nolan you sir are a real legend.