Donegal audiences praise drama about suicide

Donegal audiences had high praise for “Magpies on the Pylon,” a powerful new one-man play about suicide in Ireland by well-known Irish actor/playwright Michael Collins.

Donegal audiences had high praise for “Magpies on the Pylon,” a powerful new one-man play about suicide in Ireland by well-known Irish actor/playwright Michael Collins.

Performances of the play took place last week at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny and at the Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon.

The play is set in a tiny bedroom belonging to ‘Jim’, a Traveller father whose struggles to cope with the suicide of his 23-year-old son have led him to isolate himself from other family members and to misuse alcohol. Audience members accompany Jim on an emotional roller coaster ride as he articulates loving memories of his son, his fears for the well-being of his other three children, the turmoil that has developed in his relationship with his wife, his anger at God, and agonising questions about whether there was something he could have done to prevent his son’s death.

Mr Collins, who is a Traveller, said he’d written the play as a means of breaking the taboo throughout Irish society on talking about suicide. “One of the most important messages that I hope people walk away with, whether Traveller or settled, is that they’re not on their own, there is help out there, and one of the most important things they need to do is talk to somebody,” he said.

For more on this story see tomorrow’s Donegal People’s Press and Donegal Democrat