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Stage: Hard as…

- October 11, 2011

Iron is an intense psychological drama at The New Venture


Josie has been looking for her mother, Fay, for 15 years, she finds her in prison, where she is serving life for the murder of Josie’s father. Josie had never been inside a prison before visiting her.

Iron is an intense psychological drama in which mother and daughter try to break through the barriers of time, memory and punishment which separate them. But, between them lies the act of murder. A murder Josie cannot remember and Fay has always tried to forget. Uncovering the memories they share is more dangerous than either of them can imagine.

Rona Munro spent time in prisons researching a screenplay commissioned by Tim Roth. When the project fell through, she was left with a clutch of vivid impressions of life under lock and key, which she then fashioned into a play of her own.
“There were three things I wanted to explore,” she says. “The attitude of someone going into prison, the attitude of someone in prison, and the whole issue around families. The thing is, you have this unbelievable boredom in prison. So when a bit of outside life comes in, it’s extremely intense.” It was the perfect crucible for a dramatic exploration of family, says Munro.

“It’s that thing of a mother living vicariously through a child, and the child needing to identify with the father as well as the mother,” she says. “Iron describes an extreme form of those dilemmas.”

Like Munro’s debut Bold Girls, which was about Belfast wives during the Troubles, or like 1999’s Snake, whose characters grappled with life on a council estate, Iron is a private story set against a political backdrop. Its heroes are hard done by life. Characteristically, though, Iron resists polemic as resolutely as it does sentimentality. Iron’s political dimension is integrated stealthily into the human drama.

Rona Munro was born in Aberdeen and is currently senior playwriting fellow for the Traverse. She has written many plays and scripts for stage, screen and television and received numerous awards for her work including The Maiden Stone Peggy Ramsay Memorial Award winner for Snake; Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award, Plays International Award, Critics Circle and Plays and Players Most Promising Playwright Award for Bold Girls .

The play is directed by Jerry Lyne who has appeared in many productions and directed a number of successful and award winning plays.

Iron, New Venture Theatre, Saturday 19 November–Saturday 26 November 2011, 7.45pm, plus 2.30pm matinee Sunday 20 November. No evening performances Sunday/Monday.Tickets £7–10, Available from the Box Office on 01273 746118 or online at www.newventure.org.uk

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