Ice Cream Dreams

Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 28-Sat 31 Mar


When writer Martin McCardie, currently best-known for his work on Channel 4’s Shameless, was approached to write a play set during the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars of 1983, he resisted the ready-made plot of drug-dealing and unsolved murder. ‘I made a definite decision not to engage directly with the history - someone should tell that story, but you’d need a different kind of play to do it. However, that image of people selling heroin from the ice cream vans has always stuck with me, because, when I was a child, it was such an innocent, exciting thing to do. Christ, get them while they’re young, eh?’

McCardie has created a lyrical piece that uses the real life events as background to a meditation on the cyclical nature of heroin addiction. ‘There’s a lot of repetition in the language, circularity in the words - things keep happening the same way. I concentrated on the words, and on ghosts and echoes of the past that will mean something to everyone.’

The family at the heart of Ice Cream Dreams is flanked by an ever-present Glasgow chorus who involve themselves in everything that happens, stepping in and out of roles and forming a fragmented sense of community onstage. Many of these parts are played by first-time actors working alongside the professionals - people whose lives have been affected in some way by heroin addiction. The cycle of addiction - that doesn’t change,’ says McCardie. ‘Things just keep happening the same way.’

Post a comment