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Thursday 27 July 2017

Devastating report plays out on stage

John Cooney

A packed audience, including Mr Justice Sean Ryan, watched spellbound last night as the 2,500 pages of his devastating report were transformed into a play at the Abbey Theatre.

The Ryan Report into the systematic abuse of children in institutions run by religious orders was dramatically distilled on the Peacock stage.

In the back row, journalist Mary Raftery -- who compiled and edited the 90-minute long 'The Darkest Corner -- No Escape' -- saw her daunting aim of ensuring that the Ryan Report 'does not fade into obscurity' accomplished.

Seven actors -- Jane Brennan, Lorcan Cranitch, Michele Forbes, Eamonn Hunt, Eleanor Methven, Donal O'Kelly and Jonathan White gave voice to the torments of the formerly unvoiced inmates of 216 institutions.

It was a dramatic and powerful re-enactment of the most shameful chapter in this country's past. The actors captured the Christian Brothers of Artane and the Sisters of Mercy of Goldenbridge as the play said: "Like a pack of hunting animals".

Among those attending were abuse survivors Christine Buckley, Bernadette Fahy, Michael O'Brien and Chris Heaphy.

Writers and critics included Roddy Doyle, Bruce Arnold, Emer O'Kelly and Abbey director Fiach McConghail.

Ms Raftery said the adaptation was "very moving and very disturbing".

She added: "What we get is a tiny fraction of the horrors innocent children suffered in these institutions run by the religious orders."

Irish Independent

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