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24 June 1999 Edition

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Theatre: Where have all the Spoons Gone?

By Tara Gray

Putting words on paper to describe the cycle of suffering that comes with heroin addiction is not an easy task, but freelance journalist, poet, playwright and community worker Tara Gray attempted just that when she penned Where have all the Spoons Gone? She was commissioned to write the play last year by Ringsend & District Response to Drugs for the European Drug Awareness Week.

The main theme of the play centres around the fall into heroin addiction suffered by the main character, Louise Clark, played by Tara Gray. Louise's family life is directly affected by addiction from very early on when her father abandons her family as a result of alcohol addiction. This is a very important aspect of the play, as a recent study has shown that a very high percentage of heroin addicts come from a background of addiction, usually having an alcoholic parent.

There is one area of suffering that many previous attempts at portraying heroin addiction have ignored that this play shows very well. This is the impact heroin addiction has on the immediate family of the addict. The denial, guilt, feelings of betrayal and later learning to let go are just some of the emotions dealt with brilliantly by the cast. The strength of the play lies in the fact that the fictional family portrayed could so easily be any one of the thousands in Dublin that have a son or daughter suffering from heroin addiction.

Where have all the Spoons Gone? doesn't fall into the trap of attempting to explain the causes or proposed solutions to heroin addiction, and rightfully so. What it does do in the relatively short time of one hour and ten minutes is portray with great insight the pain of one family's suffering. The effect on the community is only barely touched upon, but brilliantly uses a few moments of sarcastic humour to convey how much contempt those working against heroin in their community have for the views of some politicians and so-called community representatives.

The play has finished its short run at the City Arts Centre but is set to start a tour of schools next term.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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