Bold Girls

the chicago park district

The Munroe Park Theater Guild Presents
Bold Girls
By Rona Munro
Bold Girls is a stirring play about the lives of three Irish women whose men have been killed or imprisoned for their political activities.  However this is play about people, not politics.  Life for these women goes on amid burning buses and roadside blocks.
"Often wrenching, it's just as often funny . . . Munro occasionally allows her characters an almost novelistic luxury with language . . . this makes the play seem universal even while it's also utterly real and firmly set in nineteen-nineties Belfast."
- The New Yorker
"Rona Munro's ear for the authentic cut and thrust of Belfast's unsung heroines is sharp, abraisive and at times downright painful ... It is also celebratory and funny."
 - Daily Mail
January 7, 8, 9, 2010 

Directed By Kevin McSweeney

Assistant Director ... Kim Madal

Stage Manager / Director of Promotions / Properties ... Van Ferro
Stage Manager ... Anne Carpenter
Lighting and Sound Designer ... Kevin McSweeney
Sound Board Operator ... Kim Madal
Stage Crew ... John Wognum
Set Construction / Environmental Officer ... Sarah Bury

How Long Must We Sing Their Songs: 
The People of Bold Girls

     Rona Munro’s play, Bold Girls, is set in Belfast, Ireland during the end of what is commonly referred to as “the Troubles” (1960 – 1998).  The primary issues during this time were the discrimination against the Catholic Nationalists by the Protestant Unionists and the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.  The violence and tension escalated to such a degree that 96 people died in 1991 in connection with the conflict in Northern Ireland, and travel author, Dervla Murphy, in her book, A Place Apart, compared Belfast in this time to London during the Blitz.  Murder, imprisonment, road blocks, military occupation, and violations of civil rights permeated and defined the physical, emotional, political, and familial landscapes of Northern Ireland, and the tragedies of Bloody Sunday and the Hunger Strikes brought this country to the brink of civil war.   

     Much has been said and written of this time period, and a significant popular culture example is the Irish band U2’s 1983 album, War.  The opening song, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” describes the physical and emotional impact of the troubles. Though many critics have suggested that this is one of the greatest political/protest songs of its generation, U2 has argued that it is a song about the people, not the politics.  It is about the suffering of the people, and the physical and emotional impact of the violence inspires Bono to question, “How long must we sing this song?” 

     Bold Girls is a play about none of this and about all of this at the same time.  In Bold Girls, the political and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland is ancillary to the lives of four women, Nora, Cassie, Marie, and Deirdre.  That is not to say that their lives have not been affected by the conflictual temperament of the times.  Nora’s husband is dead, Cassie’s husband is imprisoned, Marie’s husband has been murdered, and the history of Deirdre’s father is shrouded in mystery.  They are often imprisoned in their own homes and are subjected to military occupation and degrading searches.   

     However, this is a play about people, not politics.  This is a play about the women, not the Worker’s Party.  This is a play about domestic definitions and internal liberations.  This is a play about the constructions of “reality” and the search for “truths.”  Just as Bono tells his audiences that “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is not a “rebel song,” this is not a “rebel play.”  It is a play about the conflict of generational gender roles – a conflict that is still being fought and that the Good Friday Agreement could not reconcile.  

     Munro’s text and my conceptualization in no way attempt to minimize the political and violent realities of “the Troubles.”  They play their part on the stage.  However, Bold Girls strives to highlight the inter and intra personal struggles of its women.  They are struggles that are affected by the political landscape, but they are also struggles that transcend it.  This is a play about four specific women and their specific struggles … In the end, we must ask ourselves a similar question that Bono asks in “Sunday Bloody Sunday:” How long must we sing their songs?


Kevin McSweeney

December 2009


Bold Girls
MARIE...Linda Novak         CASSIE...Colleen Winters 
NORA...Jaimey Kennedy    DEIRDRE...Grace O'Neill