Tackling the devastating effect of poverty and the lack of opportunities faced by so many in Britain, Jade City follows two friends struggling with the pressures of everyday life in modern Belfast. Inspired by a city full of heart that is straining under the weight of decades of political and social unrest, Alice Malseed brings to life the mental health issues faced by the brushed aside working classes.
One third of people in Northern Ireland live on or below the bread line, and the country has seen more suicides since the Good Friday Agreement than deaths during the Troubles. As the government works to bring the 18-month deadlock in Northern Ireland to a close, Jade City explores the consequences of non-functional and uncaring governments and the effects on the people they have neglected.
Stuck in one place and trapped in their heads, Sas and Monty can escape to The Game and pretend to be different people, to be in other places, even to be seagulls flying free. But Sas wants to stop playing. He wants to talk, about what’s on his mind, about their lives and about what happened that summer.
Writer Alice Malseed comments, Jade City was written as a matter of urgency. It seeks to illuminate the effect that decades of austerity and economic and societal side-lining has had on masculinity, particularly in working class communities such as the one in east Belfast in this story. It is full of the storytelling, generosity, kindness and dark humour of Belfast; things that provide joy in Sas and Monty’s world. Jade City has a lot of aggression and a lot of heart. For me, that’s Belfast. The play has a really live energy, that fizzes and buzzes in the dialogue until it explodes with devastating consequences.