Play Preview: ‘Stronger’ by Geoff Power

Photo Courtesy of Gúna Nua

David Prendeville

A much-anticipated new play is running until October 9th at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin.

Multi-award-winning theatre company Gúna Nua are overseeing the world premiere run of Stronger, a new drama inspired by true events. The play deals with the emerging practice of Restorative Justice and Redemption. Written by Geoff Power and directed by Paul Meade the play will highlight the challenges within the legal system and also how repairing the harm caused by criminal behaviour is imperative. The play was previously a work-in-progress reading event at Dublin Theatre Festival in 2020.

Based on a real life event that occurred in the UK, the play tells the story of Jan, a teacher sexually assaulted by one of her students. As Jan journeys through the legal system she struggles to find closure and her life is in danger of falling apart. A glimmer of hope appears but it could mean lying to the person she loves the most and confronting the person who has done her most harm. Her harrowing journey through the justice system puts pressure on her relationship with her partner, as her assailant pleads innocent at first. During the trial Jan is left upset and confused as she is denied the opportunity to confront her aggressor and is labelled a victim by the Judge. Jan eventually loses patience with the traditional justice route and, against her partner’s wishes, contacts a restorative justice practitioner called Vicky. She in turn contacts Jan’s attacker, who is initially resistant to engage in the restorative justice process. As Jan moves closer to a meeting and a possible reconciliation with her assailant, Damon, the relationship with her partner Rob is put under enormous strain as a result. Things are almost at breaking point when a positive meeting between Jan and Damon leads to a healing of sorts with Rob.

Paul Meade, Artistic Director of Gúna Nua Theatre Company says, “When I first read Stronger it really spoke to me because, even though it deals with a very dark side of human behaviour it held out this little flicker of hope that has the potential to grow into something very powerful.”

Ursula Fernée, Assistant Principal Probation Officer, Irish Probation Service says that “The reduction of harm caused by criminality is at the core of Probation practice which works to address offending and its causes. Restorative Justice is part of this work with a specific lens on the harm to people and to relationships and on victim centred approaches that can help to heal and to repair. It is through that same lens that the story of ‘Stronger’ unfolds as it follows one woman’s journey through the criminal justice system following a serious sexual assault. Through her quest for understanding, meaning and ultimately a form of resolution, this dramatic portrayal unlocks the very essence of restorative justice. The Probation Service recognises the power of this play to create a wider community awareness of the impact of sexual violence on those harmed and to demonstrate how restorative justice can respond to needs, often unmet in traditional justice procedure. Both the Probation Service and the Department of Justice appreciate the important role of the Arts in highlighting and promoting discussion on social issues. We have been delighted to travel some of the way with the writer and to support the staging of the play by Guna Nua as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival 2021.”

Stronger is brought to life by some of Ireland’s finest acting talent that includes; Mary Murray (Love Hate), Marcus Lamb (Ros na Rún, Rebellion), Jennifer O’Dea (Abbey Theatre, The Gate) and Scott Graham (Abbey Theatre, Rialto).

During the run of the play on Thursday 7 October at 4.00pm, Gúna Nua will host a forum (webinar) on Restorative Justice – an on-line event for audiences to hear from and question experts in this important field of justice. At this event Tim Chapman, Chairperson of the Board of the European Forum for Restorative Justice will chair the webinar event, with Noeline Blackwell, CEO Rape Crisis Centre and the Probation Service of Ireland / Department of Justice will take part in this important discussion.

Tickets are available at: