Somewhere Over the Balcony
© By Marie Jones
In the Divis Flats in Belfast on the anniversary of internment, three women observe the world from the balcony of their high-rise flats. Under constant surveillance from an army tower, they view everything from husbands and offspring to joyriders, demolition squads, a marriage and a siege.
Rose: The best man does not look like himself
Ceely: That’s because he is not himself
Rose: Who is he?
Ceely: Tootsie O’Hare disguised as Big Tucker O’Neill
Rosie: Where is Big Tucker O’Neill?
Kate: On the run disguised as Tootsie O’Hare
Ceely: Cos’ Danny didn’t want Tucker, he wanted Tootsie
Kate: So, Tootsie is Tucker and Tucker is Tootsie!
Rose: Why is Tucker on the run when he didn’t do nothing?
Ceely and Kate: So Tootsie could be Best Man, for fuck’s sake!
Ceely: I’m all excited so I am…when wee Tucker was wee, my big Tucker used to say to him, ‘Son what do you want to be when you grow up’….. and he woulda said, ‘On the run, Daddy’. Oh God if he was alive the day he would be so proud of him…he’s probably in Bundoran by now
Kate: It’s well for you Ceely, my Dustin wants to become a computer scientist
Ceely: My wee Tucker was just lucky, Kate, he happened to be in the right place at the right time
Somewhere Over the Balcony, Copyright © Marie Jones (1987). All rights whatsoever nature on these plays are strictly reserved. No use may be made of this play of whatsoever nature without licence. All enquiries should be addressed to Curtis Brown Group Limited, Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP Email
The community of the high rise Divis Flats is immune from normal society, happily insulated within a metaphysical and real compound where the watched watch the watchers, The British Army surveillance at the top of the flats.
Jones portrays one day in the life of three women, Kate, Ceely and Rose as they watch the antics of a local wedding. An ambulance and army helicopter are hijacked, guests are under siege in the church and every male young or old is named ‘Tucker’.
The comic inversion of reality depicts a community long past normal modes of existence and the comic refrain, ‘On a day like today, you could be anywhere’ reinforces the institutionalisation of lives lived to translate oppression into some form of imagined freedom.
Arts Theatre Belfast , September 9, 1987
First produced by Charabanc Theatre Company at the Drill Hall, London, September 1987. The production subsequently played at the Arts Theatre, Belfast, November 1987.
Balcony Productions at Belvoir Players Studio, Belfast, October 2007 (to commemorate 20 years from Enniskillen bombing)
‘The most cogent yet … improbability piles upon unlikelihood …a crazy authenticity is maintained throughout. The humour is pithy and dark and incisively unsentimental.’ The Irish Times
‘Slick and polished throughout’