Play About Abuse in Ireland Will Arrive in New York
A critically acclaimed one-man play about institutional abuse of children that created waves in Ireland when it was first produced in 2003 will be coming to New York. “James X,” written and performed by Gerard Mannix Flynn, will begin performances on Dec. 6 and open on Dec. 9 at 45 Bleecker Theater.
The play presents the story of a man waiting to present testimony to a tribunal investigating the sexual and physical abuse of children. It will be directed by Gabriel Byrne, the actor, and produced by Mr. Byrne, the actor Liam Neeson and Culture Project, a New York-based performance organization whose work focuses on human rights issues.
“James X” addresses not only the issue of abuse within the Roman Catholic Church that has riven Ireland over the last several years but also the mistreatment of children that occurred within what were known as industrial schools, church-run reformatories for abandoned or delinquent children. As a child, Mr. Flynn, a novelist who now serves as a city councillor in Dublin, spent time in two of the most notorious of those schools.
In a 2003 interview with the New York Times, Mr. Flynn said the play was only loosely based on his life, but the performance is accompanied by a dossier of photocopied documents that were mostly taken from his own personal file at Ireland’s Department of Health, dating from age 7. “This show concludes my personal journey, as a private individual in my struggle with my inner self and with my soul,” Mr. Flynn said at the time.