St Patrick’s Cathedral
“We create the problems so we can sell you the solutions. It’s our job.”
In the intimate setting of a side chapel, within the majestic and glorious St Patrick’s, some gutsy theatre is created. The raw materials: 11 real people, who have each clearly lived a life, and the alchemy of singer-songwriter Sean Millar. The result is some strong truths, and a compelling piece of politically-engaged art. The RADE (Recovery through Art, Drama & Education) performers are disciplined, dignified, with strong stage presence. Initially besuited, bespectacled, they address the audience directly, and sing a series of sometimes affecting, sometimes powerful songs, accompanied by Millar, and occasional, apposite slide projections. The message draws connections; this is a whole world view rather than individuals’ personal stories. The billion-dollar international pharmaceutical drug business and the impoverished Afghani poppy farmers. The legal drugs business that has become more powerful than states. A “war on [illegal] drugs” that makes money for elites who have a vested interest in it never ending. The Mexican drug cartel billionaire’s “gracias amigos” to the US because its criminalization policies have made him rich. If demand dried up, the Afghani economic disaster would have Irish famine proportions.
This is very impressive musical theatre, created by people directly affected by the issues it addresses so forcefully. So while the vision is bleak, its expression is uplifting. What’s inexplicable is that RADE’s challenging programme is threatened by cuts.