HK English Speaking Union
- Mon 18-03-2013 7:15 PM - 2 h
'Stones in his Pockets' by Marie Jones
Irish dramatist Marie Jones' 1999 play 'Stones in his Pockets' was an international hit and is probably her best known dramatic work. It is - unusually - a play about filming. Two lively young Irishmen named Charlie and Jake are employed as extras by a big American film company shooting an epic supposedly 'Irish' film on Ireland's wild and beautiful west coast. The template for such patronising Hollywood travesties was the 1950s movie starring John Wayne, 'The Quiet Man'. The locals, most of whom are unemployed in the bleak economic post-Irish bubble scenario, flock to participate as extras, despite the film production company's mean policy toward remuneration and even daily food. As in the previous Hollywood depictions of Ireland, the main characters are being played by American stars for whom sounding Irish is usually not too difficult given the historical connections. One of these stars, the leading lady Caroline Giovanni, is attracted to Jake who has come back to Ireland after a failed bid to make a life for himself in the US. Her real motive for taking an interest in Jake is purely mercenary: in order to improve the authenticity of her accent she 'has a habit of going native'. The play humorously, indeed bitingly, presents the typical clichés of Hollywood cinema but the humorous nature of the interactions between locals and movie production staff is abruptly altered when tragedy strikes the small community in the form of a suicide. Indeed this suicide relates to the title of the play which turns out to be dramatically ironic, which is what gives the play its title. The other central irony of the play is that the genuinely unemployed extras who are trying to act as desperate and dispossessed do not seem desperate and dispossessed enough to satisfy the big-name Hollywood director. The play brilliantly and satirically explores the relationship between the widely divergent ways film and theatre deal with so-called 'human interest' stories.