Posted on Friday 17 August 2018 by Shelter NI
In association with Shelter NI
Libby Smyth (L) plays Estelle and Hannah Coyle (R) plays Stella in Both Sides by Jane Coyle
IN A NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH SHELTER NI - BOTH SIDES RETURNS
It’s back! Both Sides, Jane Coyle’s double-sided play, which charmed audiences across Northern Ireland in autumn 2017, has been invited to two picturesque venues in September.
Both Sides will be performed on Saturday 15 September at Lighters Restaurant in the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn. As advertised, for the inclusive price of their ticket, audience members can enjoy French bread and cheese with a glass of wine while settling into the café atmosphere of the play.
Inspired by the works of Samuel Beckett, the play comprises two interlocking monologues. The first Me Here, Me is set in Paris, the second Before Before in Nice.
Paris-based actress Hannah Coyle plays Stella, a solitary young woman watching the life of the street unfold from a table in a Paris café. She senses that each passer-by has a troubling story. She has one too and fears that it is about to be revealed.
Popular Belfast actress Libby Smyth plays Estelle, a glamorous middle-aged woman seated at a bar in the old town of Nice. She looks back ruefully on a turbulent, bohemian life, which has brought her joy, adventure and indescribable loss.
Who are these women? What is their connection?
The script of Me Here, Me was first read by Hannah Coyle in the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris during the inaugural Beckett Paris Festival in March 2016. It was produced for the 2016 Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and performed later that year at the Paris Fringe.
It was subsequently joined by a companion piece Before Before to form Both Sides, which was premiered at the 2017 Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and toured Northern Ireland in autumn 2017.
It is directed by Rhiann Jeffrey, one of Northern Ireland’s rising theatrical names.
“Both Sides is a love letter to France and to Beckett”, says Coyle. “Its characters and content come straight off the streets of Paris and Nice, as well as from Beckett’s enigmatic plays and stories.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t pick up on the Beckett references, though it adds to the fun if you do. Some audience members have even spotted references that I didn’t know were there. The production transports you into the heart of two great cities, where I have lived and worked and spent some of the best times of my life.”
The production is presented in association with Shelter NI, the charity which supports homeless people. Its director Tony McQuillan saw the play at the Duncairn Centre during its autumn tour:
“In my opinion, Jane Coyle has created a timeless piece which allows us to reflect on what happens to people in their uncertain lives,” he says.
“Often, we recognise homelessness only when we are ‘disturbed’ by a person sleeping on the street, but this play reminds us that homelessness is mostly inconspicuous, and we learn this from the thoughts of the characters in the two stories.
“Shelter NI is pleased to be associated with Both Sides. If you wish to know more about homelessness and the work of Shelter NI, you can access our website at www.shelterni.org.”
Lighthouse Communications, the Holywood-based PR agency, remains on board as sponsor for this Powerstone production.
“An evening spent in Paris and Nice ... insightful writing, sensitive performances.” Irish News
“Two intriguing stories ... shades of Beckett ... the joy of the writing.” Belfast Times
“A clever drama, which operates on two levels … the stories and sorrow of two women keep our attention.” Theatre critic Grania McFadden