Both Sides back on stage in Lisburn and Bangor

Jane Coyle's play Both Sides is back for two performances in September
Jane Coyle's play Both Sides is back for two performances in September Jane Coyle's play Both Sides is back for two performances in September

A "LOVE letter" to France and to Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, is how arts journalist Jane Coyle describes her acclaimed "double-sided" 2017 play Both Sides, which returns for two new performances in September.

Presented in a new partnership with homeless charity Shelter NI, the play comprises two interlocking monologues set in two different French cities – Paris and Nice.

Directed by Rhiann Jeffrey and produced by Powerstone Entertainment, Both Sides can be seen at Lighters restaurant at the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn (September 15) and at the cafe at North Down Museum, Bangor Castle (September 19), as part of Aspects Literature Festival.

Starring Paris-based actress Hannah Coyle (the playwright's daughter) and Belfast actress Libby Smyth, Both Sides premiered at last year's Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival before touring the north.

Described as a "timeless piece" which allows the audience to reflect on what happens to people in their uncertain lives, according to Coyle the characters and content come "straight off the streets of Paris and Nice", as well as from Beckett’s enigmatic plays and stories.

"Both Sides is a love letter to France and to Beckett," she says.

"It doesn’t matter if you don’t pick up on the Beckett references, though it adds to the fun if you do.

"Some audience members have even spotted references that I didn’t know were there. The production transports you into the heart of two great cities, where I have lived and worked and spent some of the best times of my life."

The first monologue, Me Here, Me, is set in Paris where Stella (Coyle) is presented to the audience as a solitary young woman who watches the life of the street unfold from a table in a café.

Meanwhile, further south in the city of Nice, Estelle (Smyth), a glamorous, middle-aged woman, is seated at a bar in the old town looking inward – on a turbulent, bohemian life; a life which has brought her joy, adventure and indescribable loss.

But who are these women – and what is their connection?

:: Both Sides, September 15, Island Arts Centre, Lisburn / September 19, North Down Museum, Bangor Castle. For bookings and performance times see Islandartscentre.com and Aspectsfestival.com.