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A tale of two men divided by a border and tradition


Laurence McKeown

Laurence McKeown

Laurence McKeown

Two policemen. One a member of An Garda Siochana, the other an officer in the RUC. Stationed just miles from each other, separated by an invisible border.

Laurence McKeown’s play explores what life was like for those who patrolled this area during the Troubles — how physically close they were to each other, and yet how very far apart their lives were.

Their overlapping stories are told by James Doran as Garda Eddie O’Halloran and Vincent Higgins as Const David McCabe, who reveal what they stand for when on duty, and who they were behind the green and blue of their uniforms. What they say is based on an oral archive of serving officers from both forces.

Cork man Eddie is affable, easy-going and donned a uniform after he failed to get into the priesthood. He’s in radio contact with his opposite number David, a Newcastle man, dutiful and upright, who’s following in the family tradition of joining the police. They strike up a friendship through their walkie talkies. They share much at their roots, but today are diametric opposites in almost every way.

Higgins and Doran give engaging performances as the men unable to cross a line that only wise men and farmers can see. It’s a simple but effective way of exploring two sides of one conflict.

It’s important that stories such as theirs are given voice, even though we know there’s not going to be a happy ending.

Belfast Telegraph