Arts

Thomas Kilroy's tale of fake news and propaganda Double Cross to open at Lyric

Thomas Kilroy's Double Cross is 'a rage against the whole nature of fascism'

OPENING at the Lyric in Belfast next week, a new production of Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy's Double Cross tells the true story of how 'fake news' helped win the battle for Britain during the Second World War.

A story of two masterminds of propaganda pitched against each other in a race to win hearts and minds, the Jimmy Fay-directed Double Cross is also about two Irishmen who reinvented themselves: Co Tipperary-born British Minister for Information Brendan Bracken, and Irish American, Galway-raised Nazi propagandist William Joyce, AKA 'Lord Haw-Haw' – the last man to be hanged for treason.

"Double Cross was written out of a kind of rage," explains Kilroy of his 1986-penned play, which was originally staged by Field Day. "A rage against the whole nature of fascism: a rage against the power residing in role-playing, in costuming, in uniforms. A rage against militarism.

"I was writing about two characters, two figures, that really came out of anger in me. But I had to find within myself a lot of empathy for these two individuals, or at least an understanding – kind of forcing the audience to cut loose from easy solutions".

A co-production with Dublin's Abbey Theatre, Double Cross stars Ian Toner (Punk Rock), Charlotte McCurry (Beauty & The Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, The Crucible) and Sean Kearns, the latter of whom is currently playing Terri Hooley’s father in the Lyric's hit stage version of Good Vibrations.

"Tom Kilroy’s story of fake news and the triumph of artifice has particular resonance in today’s world of Brexit and Trump," explains Fay, who is also the Lyric's executive director.

"It challenges us to examine the power of rhetoric and how performance and theatricality can affect the truth."

:: Double Cross, the Lyric, October 10-27. Details and booking at Lyricbelfast.co.uk

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