The Interrogation of Ambrose Fogarty
© By Martin Lynch
Set in a Police Station in West Belfast in the 1970s Fogarty charts the story of two very different prisoners over a three-day detention period. Political activist Ambrose Fogarty claims he is innocent of armed robbery. The Police Special Branch are convinced he is guilty. What follows is a dramatic stand-off, brutal and dehumanising. Into this bursts the anarchic Willie Lagan, a guitar-playing jokester who hasn’t a clue why he’s been arrested. Willie’s hilarious stay in the Police station demonstrates why the poet James Simmons called Lagan, “one of the greatest characters written for the Ulster theatre.”
PETER: Listen, Ambrose, I’m not asking anything that the whole world doesn’t know. The young long-haired riorters of 1969 and ’70 became the IRA of ’71 and ’72. Who doesn’t know that?… You don’t have to be ashamed of it. C’mon Ambrose, you must have at least felt like joining the IRA?
AMBROSE: I didn’t.
PETER: Are you afraid in here, Ambrose? …This isn’t Castlereagh, you know. And for that matter I’m not so sure that all that much went on in Castlereagh anyway. I mean if you were to believe half the stories.
By kind permission Martin Lynch
The play challenges the humanity of those who are compelled to take aggressive and formalised approaches to each other in a militarised situation like a police station in a troubled area during the Troubles.
Lyric Theatre Belfast January 27, 1982
First produced by the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in 1982
Produced by Martin Lynch’s own production company GBL Productions in 2007; staged at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, before touring throughout Northern Ireland.
‘Back when this fiery play debuted in the 1980s, its sharp examination of political imprisonment during the Troubles was close to home.
Nowadays we can sit back and enjoy it safely. But as this week’s packed house shows, it’s as relevant and incisive as it ever was.’ - Ciaran Tracey The Newsletter, 2007.