Alice Malseed is the writer of Jade City, which will open at The Bunker Theatre this September following a run earlier this year at VAULT Festival.

Inspired by a city full of heart that is straining under the weight of decades of political and social unrest, Alice Malseed brings to life the mental health issues faced by the brushed aside working classes.

Jade City by Alice Malseed is at The Bunker 3rd to 21st September 2019.

Jade City is coming to The Bunker, what can you tell us about it?

Jade City is a play about two lads in East Belfast. They are best friends but one of them did something abhorrent and the other is trying to process it. It’s an exciting piece of work because of the way it deals with a hugely gendered issue from a different perspective than we’re used to seeing and hearing about. I’m really excited about it because of the language and the characters, they feel really real to me.

What inspired you to write a play about toxic masculinity?

I never thought I was writing a play about toxic masculinity, in fact when I was writing the play the phrase toxic masculinity wasn’t really part of the zeitgeist. When I was writing the play all I was thinking about was the men, some men’s inability to communicate and therefore their inability to speak to women and respect women properly because they can’t communicate with each other or with women.

It ran at VAULT Festival earlier this year, have there been any changes for this new run?

This version of the play feels a lot sharper than it did before. The director, Katherine, and the team have put in a huge amount of effort into sharpening everything up.  Because of the nature of doing it for the third time it feels like we really want to be to be clearer in what we are trying to say. Barry and Brendan have really deepened their relationship with their characters so audiences can expect to see an exceptional piece of work on stage.

The characters often go into a fantasy world as part of the game they play with each other, how easy or difficult was it to write those alongside the main narrative?

It was really fun to write the game parts of the play. It was an exciting experiment to see how ridiculous and otherworldly I could go with the sections. I find myself quite familiar in that world as I like to explore the imagination and also, I feel like in Belfast we use a lot of metaphor and colourful language to describe the everyday. I wanted to create a sort of singular magical realism that the men can play in when they’re playing the game. It was difficult to try and weave these exceptional moments into reality, but sometimes reality is hard to deal with and that’s why people do exceptional things.

Barry Calvert and Brendan Quinn reprise their roles, what do you like most about their portrayal of Monty and Sas?

Both cast members have worked exceptionally hard to reach emotional truth with the characters That’s all I can ask for. They’ve got a beautiful bond together in real life and in the play.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Jade City?

Have a pint after.

Main Image Credit Kristi Campbell

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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