Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 20–Sat 29 Nov
There’s been a verdant field ploughed by dramatists over the last century about the loss of religious faith. We’ve spent quarter centuries at a time replacing it with other things, from violent nationalistic jingoism to the more contemporary ill of mindless consumerism.
This latter phenomena is exposed in Paul Higgins’ new play for the Traverse and NTS, in which a young man returns from study at a seminary to find his family knee deep in the empty pursuits of fast food, drugs and alcohol. ‘The play is partly about religious faith and what it’s for,’ explains writer Paul Higgins. ‘I think it’s about if you don’t believe in God anymore, what replaces that? Does alcohol replace it, do antidepressants replace it? Is there a positive way of thinking of something else, a belief in yourself, a belief in positive humanity? Can you find comfort in other things, or is comfort not the point?’
Higgins, whose splendid performances in Black Watch and Damascus will have imprinted his acting talents on Scottish audiences, is making his debut as a writer, at least on a serious level, with this piece, but he stresses that for all the content, it amounts to a comedy. ‘It’s meant to be a realistic portrayal of their lives, but they are funny people. They’re just used to cracking mostly disparaging jokes about each other – language is a weapon in this family. I think of it as a kind of tragedy, created by very funny people.’