life imitating art | 

Love/Hate star Mary Murray to share stage with former student in restorative justice play

Her character Jane, a teacher, is sexually assaulted by one of her students in the production
Mary Murray will perform alongside hoer former student, who plays her student in the production...

Mary Murray will perform alongside hoer former student, who plays her student in the production...

Neasa Cumiskey

Love/Hate star Mary Murray will share the stage with her former drama student Scott Graham next week in her latest production.

It’s a case of art imitating life for the actors as they take on the roles of teacher Jane and student Damon in a gritty production of Geoff Power’s play Stronger at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre from 30th September – 9th October.

Mary told that working with Scott has been “great” and has been a very unique experience.

She revealed: “I’m a drama teacher and he was actually a drama student of mine years ago as a kid and all the way up to being a teenager. So, it’s really interesting to play this now as somebody who actually was his teacher at one point.

“Scott’s an amazing actor and has been doing all kinds of work over the last few years. Seeing him at the age he’s at right now, which isn’t much older than this particular character, it’s great to work with him but it’s great to understand that dynamic as well.”

In the play, Jane is sexually assaulted by Damon and she later turns to the legal system to find closure through the practice of restorative justice.

Mary said that she uses her real-life experience and relationship with Scott to help channel her character’s feelings onstage.

She explained: “If I’m ever searching for that moment, like why would Jan feel this or that, I just imagine if it was Scott. Imagine how this would break my heart or how would I be trying to understand why he did such a thing. It makes it so much more real.

"I think it’s very helpful. It’s something you don’t have to make up because these are all the real feelings that a person would feel, considering how much I admire him and have always admired him and have been supportive towards him.

“In another lifetime if he wasn’t the wonderful, smart person that he is and went his own way, imagine if that happened. I don’t think I’d ever be able to understand it and I’d spend my life trying to figure out what I did wrong. It brings it all home.”

The Ballyfermot native believes that, despite its distressing subject matter, the play holds a powerful message.

“Rape is a very sensitive subject. We’re dealing with restorative justice and we’re trying to say that there’s hope with this. There is an opportunity for people to move on.

“But of course, rape is something that is very difficult to move on from. It’s so difficult to just get your life back and we want to be as truthful as possible. We want to try to put that positivity forward but, at the same time, you have to tell the truth.

“It’s not some one size fits all situation, there’s so much involved.”

Mary is no stranger to playing dark roles, having graced our screens from 2013-2014 as brothel owner Janet on Love/Hate.

Comparisons have been made between Love/Hate and RTÉ’s latest crime drama Kin, and the actor admitted that she's been tuning in to see what the fuss is all about.

“I’ve seen the first episode of Kin and I loved it,” she said.

“I thought the production value was really high and I think it’s shaping up to be very good. Particularly the first episode – it takes a while to get people interested in shows. I was very impressed with the acting and the visuals. There were some very interesting moments in it.”

And while Kin has gotten heaps of complaints that the show is “glamourising” gangland, Mary thinks that that’s what makes it enjoyable.

“Violence has always been glamourised on TV and, in fairness, that’s what makes it watchable. That’s what makes people tune in.

“They’re going around in big, swanky cars and swanky houses but at the end of the day, that’s true. People see this champagne lifestyle but then someone gets shot. Important characters get killed off. What’s the point in all that money if you don’t have family.

“We see enough of the ordinary stuff in our own normal lives. We want a bit of glamour on the TV, even if it’s revolving around gangland,” she added.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Showbiz

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices