THE TICKLISH subject of sexual and romantic relationships between intellectually disabled people receives a sensitive and thought-provoking treatment in Christian O’Reilly’s fine new play Sanctuary, presented by Blue Teapot Theatre Company.
Society at large might like to pretend ID individuals are asexual or untroubled by desires for shared intimacy but this is not the case. Yet their scope for exploring such needs is greatly curtailed by the care systems, whether familial or institutional, in which they live – it is illegal, for instance, for an ID couple to have sex unless they are married.
O’Reilly and the gifted Teapot cast shine a welcome light on this issue which they illuminate with great tact, perceptiveness and, last but by no means least, a rich vein of humour.
During a group outing to a cinema Larry and Sophie (beautifully played by Kieran Coppinger and Charlene Kelly ) steal away and get a hotel room for the afternoon (booked for them by their carer ).
It is their first time to share real private moments together and they both try to steer their way through an emotional minefield of desire, uncertainty, awkwardness, love, and intimacy. Their journey together through this experience is warmly and affectingly portrayed and performed.
While Larry and Sophie are the central couple in the story, the remaining cast members all get their moments to shine, whether in the hilarious banter in the cinema or the climactic scenes of the play which sees everyone re-united in the hotel room.
Richly deserved kudos to cast-members Patrick Becker, Michael Hayes, Emer Macken, Valerie Egan, Frank Butcher, Paul Connolly and Robert Doherty, and also to Petal Pilley’s skilful direction.
Sanctuary continues at Blue Teapot’s theatre in Munster Avenue today (11am and 7pm ), tomorrow (7pm ), and Saturday (7pm ).