No Room for Bigotry
- Steve Cramer
- 9 July 2009
Forms of drug addiction and sectarianism are perhaps the two most pressing social issues facing the West Coast of Scotland. It’s timely, then, that the boys of Jericho House, an institution which helps young men with drug problems, should devise a piece that addresses both issues at once.
There’s a touch of Romeo and Juliet about the story, as drawn together from the boys’ contributions by director Mark Williamson. ‘There’s this young couple, and the girl’s pregnant. They want to get married, but their two families are from either side of the sectarian divide, and the fathers have all kinds of problems with this,’ he explains. ‘There are also two sons from the same families, who have addiction problems and these two get pretty close, because they’re both using at the time, and addicts tend to team up, so, perversely, they move the families closer together.’
This, though, in no way excuses the sectarianism which Williamson tells us is part of the problem the boys face. ‘It’s not completely uncommon for the boys to have problems with bigotry. It’s as if being drug addicts, living in the margins and the shadows of society, they find a way of belonging by doing what they can to join these tribes, so that they at least have some sense of belonging.’
Williamson is quick to disabuse us of the idea that the evening is more worthy than entertaining. While the piece doesn’t attempt to sweeten its message, there are some uplifting moments to enjoy: you might even struggle for a ticket. ‘We always sell the show out,’ says Williamson. ‘There’s a lot of very funny scenes, as well as tragic ones. A lot of the experiences we represent are from the real lives of the participants and the people around them. You really couldn’t make some of this stuff up. And because there are no girls in the group, it’s an all-boy organisation, the boys have to dress up as girls – that can often be funny in itself. People really have flocked to the last few shows we’ve done.'
GilmorehillG12, Glasgow, Fri 10 & Sat 11 Jul