Quartered Belfast, A Love Story
Kabosh have come up with another novel production, this time they invite an audience of four and then take us onto the streets of Belfast. This is ‘Quartered, Belfast, A Love Story’. it’s presented in partnership with Outburst Queer Arts Festive during this month and it’s an intimate peep into the hopes and fears of a gay man looking at his city.
Have you ever wanted to take a walk in someone else’s shoes, the publicity asks, listen in on his thoughts of failed love, see your city through his eyes? Well that’s precisely what we do except it’s the story of his hope for a partner, realising Belfast isn’t an easy place to find a partner, we are exploring LGBTQ+ relationships in one small area known as the Cathedral Quarter.
Our group meet in Hill Street and then take off with our guide Chris to Donegall Street, Talbot Street, High Street, Skipper Street and onto Royal Avenue. Our only equipment is ear phones and a little tape recorder. Chris says nothing, we just follow him pausing here and there as the voice in our ear talks about being a gay man looking for somewhere to feel at home and build relationships. As we pass fantastic wall murals I bet you never knew existed, we pause by the Albert Clock where our unnamed friend tells us Belfast is ‘as straight as that clock’! The city has become gentrified he says, the gay bars are moving out of town, sure you are safe inside to talk and dance, hold hands even share a kiss but you are far from safe only a few steps away from the front door where homophobes are lurking. On the opening night of The Kremlin night club celebrations were cut short by a bomb scare but you can’t re-cork champagne he says, it ended up with drag queens spilling outside, dancing on top of police land rovers as the party moved into Union Street!
I imagine he’s a handsome young man, hurt when on hearing he’s gay, a woman says ‘what a waste’, does that mean in her world he’s useless?
As we approach the Sunflower Bar he tells us this famous hostelry means a lot to him, relaxed and at home, enjoying his drink when their eyes met and he had finally met the one for him. Look up he says and the night sky is chaos but too far away to control, nothing we can do about the black holes and the threatening meteors but look down, feel the earth and you know the world will keep spinning, this is home and he makes the choice to stay, each one of us is a single note with the power to make changes he says, but when notes join into a chord we are stronger and make even bigger and more important changes.
The words are written by Dominic Montague and spoken by Neil Keery and Paula McFetridge directs. Roughly 50 minutes, runs on Fridays Saturdays and Sunday until 19th November 2017 afternoon and early evenings, half an hour apart.