DOI: 10.5040/9781784601409.00000002

Owen McCafferty’s play Mojo Mickybo is about a friendship between two boys growing up in Belfast – in the summer of 1970 – a friendship that at first is immune to the sectarian violence taking place around them, but which nonetheless is ultimately destroyed by it. The play was first performed at Andrews Lane Studio, Dublin, on 15 October 1998.

The play's action is set in Belfast over the summer of 1970. Mojo and his friend Mickybo are two nine-year-old boys from opposing sides of the sectarian divide, but whose friendship at first transcends the violence erupting around them in the summer of 'The Troubles'. They are 'thick as two small thieves', playing headers, being mouthy, building huts, spitting from cinema balconies. The action is played as theatrical flashback: the actors playing the two boys 'should be in their late thirties/early forties', each of them also playing a variety of other characters (including the boys' parents), often inhabiting a world of fantasy, such as re-enacting their favourite film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The two performers constantly slip in and out of roles and imaginary worlds, with the violence of The Troubles only obliquely impacting on them – until finally their friendship is destroyed in a way that they only later come to understand.

The Dublin premiere was directed by Karl Wallace and designed by Terry Loane, with Niall Shanahan as Mojo and Fergal Mcllherron as Mickybo.

The production subsequently toured in Ireland and Scotland in the autumn of 1998 and spring of 1999, with David Gorry as Mojo and Darren Lawless as Mickybo.

It then transferred to the United States in the spring of 2000, with David Gorry as Mojo and Richard Dormer as Mickybo.

A feature film version, Mickybo and Me, was released in 2004, adapted and directed by Terry Loane, with Julie Walters, Ciarán Hinds and Gina McKee in supporting roles.

The play was revived at the Arcola Theatre, London, in 2007, afterwards transferring to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End.

From Mojo Mickybo: Three Plays


Nick Hern Books

Owen McCafferty

ISBN: 9781854597014

Series: NHB Modern Plays

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