By Rona Munro
Iron premiered at The Edinburgh Festival in 2002, staged by The Traverse Theatre, and quickly gained critical acclaim. The play is an intense psychological drama, set within the confines of a female prison where Fay Black is serving life for the murder of her husband. She is fifteen years into her sentence when she receives the first visitor she has had apart from her solicitor. The visitor is Josie, the daughter she has neither seen nor heard from since being sentenced.
Through a series of prison visits the play explores their mother and daughter relationship as they try to break down the barriers of time, memory and punishment that separate them. Apart from the guards, Fay has formed no significant relationships inside prison and the arrival of Josie after so long awakens a maternal instinct that she struggles to cope with. Defensive and aggressive, Fay is reluctant to deal with her old life and the outside world after so long, while Josie wants answers; answers that Fay is reluctant to give.
A powerful and moving play, Iron explores the nature of life imprisonment for women and their children, while also being a gripping story about a murder and the hidden and uncomfortable truth behind it. The revelations, when they come, are searingly powerful. This is a play which will linger in the audience’s minds long after the final curtain.
Rona Munro was born in Aberdeen in 1959 and her writing career to date includes plays for theatre, radio and television. She also wrote the film screenplays for Ken Loach’s Ladybird, Ladybird as well as Max Farberbock’s film Aimeé and Jaguar, which was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Originally an actress herself, Munro gave up performing to become a full time writer in 1992. Since then she has continued to write solo shows for her former performing partner, Scottish actress Fiona Knowles, who performs under the company name, The MsFits.
Her writing for television includes Casualty and Doctor Who (Survival 1989) while the theatre companies she has written for include The Traverse Theatre, Paines Plough, Manchester Royal Exchange, The National Theatre of Scotland and The Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1999 Munro wrote an adaptation of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba for Shared Experience and in 2006 The Lyric in Hammersmith presented Munro’s theatrical adaptation of Richard Adams’ classic book, Watership Down.
A winner of various writing awards, Rona Munro continues to write for stage and screen and her stage plays are regularly performed in countries around the world.
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