Writer: Jez Butterworth
Setting: The action of the play takes place in a clearing in an English wood (Wiltshire), at the back of the clearing stands an old forty-foot mobile home.
Time: On St. George's Day.
Jerusalem was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs in July of 2009.
Johnny 'Rooster' Byron
Jerusalem takes place on St. George’s Day, celebrated by the locals with the annual county fair. Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron lives on the boundaries of society in his palace, a forty-foot mobile home. The council wants to evict him by force. He has promised to take his son to the fair but he is disliked by most of the locals and barred from the local pub. His so-called mates want to share his vast array of drugs.
I absolutely loved reading this play. Playwright Jez Butterworth is certainly on the pulse of modern Britain. This play is unpredictable, vulgar, hilarious, touching, exhilarating and downright brilliant. As an actor I would love to perform in it and as a theatre-goer would love to see a production. It brings to mind the recent evictions from the Dale Farm in England and how modern society chooses to forget about the tradition of the traveling people. In the times in which we live you can’t be different; you must obey the system or face the consequences. I really enjoyed following the character Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron through the eye of his own personal storm. His stories are a throw back to the traditional travelling storyteller; people flocked to hear them ‘spin a yarn’.
This play would suit an English theatre company rather than an Irish one, as it is so deeply rooted in English traditions and celebrations. However, it’s a marvelous play, so I’ll let you make your own minds up on this one.
*There are possible male audition monologues within this piece.
Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron has some nice chunky pieces.
I've just been informed by a reader of my blog (John Stack) that there is a production of Jerusalem at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin in July. Read more here
If you like it, share it!