If you had Multiple Sclerosis and the worst aspects of the disease were imminent, what would you do? For Noel, it’s to record a message for his oldest friend, to ask him to speak at his wake. Written by Eoin Colfer and directed by Ben Barnes, My Real Life stars Don Wycherley. Using a cassette recorder to tape his message, Wycherley’s Noel reminisces about growing up in Wexford – a town on the southeastern coast of Ireland.
‘Noel’ paints a vivid description of Wexford in the early 1980s, the sort of place where if Mother Teresa or Jesus visited, the townspeople would question their devoutness and good deeds. As a small town, everybody knows each other’s business and (to paraphrase Mark Twain’s saying) rumours spread as fast – if not faster – than the truth. Knowing what ‘power’ a good yarn has, Noel wants his oldest friend Richard to put in a good word for him ‘after he’s gone’ and to not let the truth get in the way of a good story.
When it comes to matters of the heart, however, Noel takes a slightly more serious tone. Initially recalling his love for the Dublin girls who sometimes visited town, the topic veers towards Rose, his ‘Great Love’. An unconventional beauty, Noel sought her while the rest of the town were falling over her ’empirically more attractive’ friend. Noel also doesn’t tow the line when it comes to the Church’s doctrine regarding suicide. There’s no way he’s going to spend the last few years of his shortened life without mobility or dignity. In a town where stories last forever, the last thing he wants to be remembered for is his final days riddled with pain as his body shuts down…
© Michael Davis 2017
My Real Life runs at Assembly Hall (Venue 35) until 27th August (20:00)