Sean Ronan has brought many of his plays to the Civic with his company Out of the Blue Theatre company.  Sweet Dreams Mr. Heroin, a Theatrrical 5 and The Brothers to name but a few.  Next week Sean returns to the Civic with his new play ‘What About Us’ and he has kindly sent us the background to this hard-hitting drama and why it’s important to address issues around alcohol.

As a writer and a father of 6 children and Grandfather to 12 grandchildren I have experienced a huge amount of different issues and problems through my life. Over the last 15 years I have noticed a huge change in our drinking habits and for me it is something we all need to sit up and take on board. We all know and accept that Alcohol in Ireland is part of our everyday life and has been for as long as we all can remember but this does not mean we have to continually accept alcohol as a ‘fact of life’.

The Government in this country are doing a huge amount of work with all the different recognised bodies to try and change and curb all our drinking habits. I would like to say at this point before I continue that I totally accept and understand that not everybody drinks and I think it’s brilliant that alcohol is not part of their lives and maybe we need some of these people to come on board to explain what life is like without alcohol. For my part and the majority of people that take a drink if they were asked would they give it up?  Their reply would be “Are you mad! sure I would be bored out of my tree if I couldn’t have a drink”. It is very dangerous to your health …. “Here! I’m not an alcoholic and anyway I don’t drink that much”.

There is one of the main problems with people’s drinking in this country – nobody thinks they drink that much.

I would like to quote a line from my one man play on Alcohol “Ghost in the Bottle” …
“Alcohol is everywhere, it inhabits your body, sneaks all over you becomes your landlord, your lodger and of course your best friend. Drink as we know it is the biggest substance abuse in the world. It has destroyed so many lives, wrecked thousands of families, killed thousands upon thousands of our population. It is one of the biggest causes of depression, it can be linked to all different sorts of diseases and illnesses including mental illness and suicide. It is one of the main causes of domestic violence and road deaths. The list is endless, as a drinker myself I would like to think I will be able to enjoy my pint but teach myself  to control my drinking”.

We need all the Mary’s the Jacks the Mam’s and Dad’s, Grandad’s and Nannies to come on board and make that change. The government need to do more, we don’t need millions of euro’s thrown at this we need millions of people to change their attitude towards alcohol. We all are our own drug lords when it comes to alcohol. I would like to make this comparison in relation to peoples attitude. If they see a heroin addict on the streets a lot of people say “Look at that junkie, scumbag, lowlife, he’d be better off dead”. When they see an alcoholic on the streets they say “ Oh my God look at that poor unfortunate man, harmless, there for the grace of God go I.”

We have a hell of a lot of work to do to change people’s attitudes about alcohol . This is the main reason why I decided to write this new play, it is not about recognition for me as a writer this is my contribution towards making that change. I hope when people come to see the play that it will help them to realise that we all have to help one another to make that change. After each show we hope you will want to sign up too , Let’s Change Alcohol.

What About Us?
Wednesday 2nd – Saturday 5th May