Thursday 24 January 2019

Refugee crisis is centre stage in Natasha's play

Playwright Natasha O’Brien
Playwright Natasha O’Brien
At the launch of Natasha O’Brien’s ‘Shayma Kamar’ in Fusion Cafe: Lekan Akinyeme, Michael Way (director), Natasha O’Brien, Finbarr Delaney, Catherine Richard (producer) and Peter Murphy

Anna Hayes

A new play, by local writer Natasha O'Brien, focuses on the timely topic of the refugee crisis, following the fortunes of three people, at different stages of their journey, as they examine what it means to be a refugee in today's society.

The play 'Shayma Kamar: A Woman at War' will be performed at the National Opera House on May 17 to 19. It is directed by Michael Way, produced by Catherine Richard, and stars Natasha O'Brien, Finbarr Delaney and Lekan Akinyemi.

Theatre lovers gathered at Fusion Cafe in the National Opera House recently for the launch of the play, which was performed by Tom Mooney who commended the playwright's Brechtian approach to theatre in that she used it to mirror what was unacceptable in the shifting sands of society and challenge the audience to recognise social justice.

The evening was a mixture of launch and performance, with music from Secret Life and Martina Keane, and spoken word performances by Peter Murphy and Deirdre McGarry.

Speaking about the play, Natasha O'Brien said she wanted her writing to give a voice to people, pointing out that she had been writing since she was in school and got in trouble then for writing plays that tackled difficult subject matters.

She added that she would like the play to reach people who would not normally attend theatre, saying the play was nothing if it wasn't seen.

The refugee crisis, it was pointed out, was very relevant to Ireland. Irish naval services have, in the last three years, rescued over 16,000 people in the Mediterannean but images like that of Syrian child Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey, were powerful ones that showed the real cost of the conflict.

Natasha's previous plays include 'Parity of Pretence', which was staged at the National Opera House, and 'Against All Odds', which was written for International Women's Day.

She has worked an actor and director in TV, film, and theatre for over 16 years.

The show will run for three nights at 8 p.m. with a group only matinee on Friday, May 18 at 1 p.m. Tickets are available from

Gorey Guardian