Who is Mollser?

An excerpt from Mollser’s diary, reflecting on modern life from the character’s point of view

Mary-Lou McCarthy performs Me, Mollser for the sixth class boys of St Lawrence O’Toole Junior Boys’ School, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mary-Lou McCarthy performs Me, Mollser for the sixth class boys of St Lawrence O’Toole Junior Boys’ School, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

To mark the 1916 centenary, The Abbey Theatre will give performances of Me, Mollser, to 5th and 6th classes in primary schools across the country. Me, Mollser is a drama based on a 15-year-old character from Seán O’Casey’s play The Plough and the Stars, set in 1916. Mollser suffered from consumption, and the play gives a sense of a teenager’s life 100 years ago.

Here is an excerpt from Mollser’s diary, reflecting on modern life from the character’s point of view. It was written by actor Mary-Lou McCarthy, who created the role in the 2013 Abbey Theatre production.

I’ve got a real bad pain in me neck. Must have been the cold floor I was lyin’ on, ’cause one minute I was in me bed in Henrietta Street in Dublin an’ the next thing I was under this sheet in Trolley or something [it’s Tralee – ed].

De funny ting is, I haven’t seen Nora or Mam in days. All I see is dese young people. They must be really rich, ’cause none of them are coughing.

Dey look really clean. And they all have shoes on. Loads of shoes – with funny tings written on dem like Nike or Adidas. Dey must be the name of de fella who made the shoes, but I never met a fella called Nike or Adidas in de tenements.

I went to look for me mam an’ I found a gorgeous, big room. It had electricity in it, an’ mirrors. And I heard a funny noise the other side of a door. It was like the wind was blowing. You’ll never guess what was in there – a toilet. In the room!

And it was clean. No rats or pigs or anything in there. An’ the big noise in there I was told after is from a thing called a F-A-N which brings in clean air when you’re in a show-er. A show-er is a giant tap in the ceiling with water coming out to wash yourself.

But they’re going to start making people pay for the water soon I was told. So I’m going to use the show-er as many times as I can until then. And the soap . . . Do you know when you walk past Arnotts, an’ the door opens and a woman in a beautiful dress walks out, and you smell the perfume? Well, that’s what the soap was like. Gorgeous.

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