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Holy Cross Drama

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By studying Holy Cross in detail, as part of our scheme of work in our Drama lessons I have learnt about the circumstances of Northern Ireland. I have learnt about the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics of Northern Ireland often referred to as a diminutive civil war. I have been taught that Protestants and Catholics may find themselves in the situation of living relatively close to each other sharing a mutual hate for one another that may lead them to commit acts that could be seen as inhumane. Although when glancing at the situation the actions of some of the characters of Holy Cross may seem merciless, brutal or irresponsible, watching this drama and understanding the emotions of the characters has made some of their actions seem somewhat justified. One of the actions that I began to understand and agree with was the choice that Gerry McClure made, to walk his children through the Protestant area of Glenbryn, rather than taking an alternate route to get to school. Many people would see this action as irresponsible for putting his children in danger because of pride but by watching Holy Cross and getting the chance to play the role of Gerry we were enabled to understand the emotions and aims that led Gerry to make this decision which were rage, pride and the attempt to preserve the freedom he thought he thought they were being deprived of as Catholics.

One of the activities we did in an attempt to experience the intensity of human emotions was The Holding Room. During this activity we all had to imagine and create a character belonging to the context of Holy Cross. I believe this was successful as we were able to see extremes in different emotions of different characters created by diverse imaginations. As a result of this there was crying, shouting and arguing in our holding room. By doing this activity we were able to learn from each other by observing how others deal with their emotions through trying to hide them and how some people wear them on their sleeves. Our development performances were also successful. Our development performance was set in a cafe which depicted the reality of the events at hand to our audience. I believe our performance was effective as it was realistic due to the difference in personalities and reactions of the characters and the natural movement of the characters. We also considered levels of characters therefore we decided that one of our characters should be standing and we attempted to quicken the pace of the performance as the end of it came about. Another performance that was very effective was a performance set at a home in Northern Ireland on Christmas day. In this performance there was also diversity in the personalities of the characters and it was effective due to its level of entertainment. In some ways it was comical; at some points of the play it made the audience jump and the display of the eruption of emotions was effective due to the good quality of facial expressions.

By doing further research in order to understand the context of  holy cross I have found that the social division between Catholics and Protestants was centuries old, although in the last century problems concerning the two religious groups have arisen vigorously and ‘The Troubles’ began. I believe that this is because the Catholics and Protestants had very different views on being part of the United Kingdom. Catholics wished to be part of it but Protestants feared to be part of a country ruled by a catholic majority. This resulted in the separation of Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland, and the mixture of these two groups of people that are both strong-minded.

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