The Incubator Journal #10




My short play, Secrets, is published in the latest issue of The Incubator Journal.

Secrets was part of Arrivals 2 from Terra Nova Productions, which ran at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, and toured throughout NI in 2015, directed by Andrea Montgomery & starring Melissa Dean & Robert Bertrand, with a score by Anthony Toner.

You can read a free pdf of the issue at link below. Copies are also available to buy.

The Incubator Journal #10







Music: ‘Secrets’ by Anthony Toner.

Lights up on ANGELA and PATRICK, standing. Both are dressed in black.

They regard the audience, for a time.


ANGELA:      It was so cold up on the hill. A bitter wind. But the sun was shining, all the same. Patrick held my hand all through the prayers. His hand was so warm. It was comforting.

I watched the priest. The steam coming from his breath as he spoke. I barely listened to the words.

As they lowered her into the grave I looked away.

From where we stood I could see the rooftops of the estate where I’ve lived most of my life. Where mum lived all of hers.

Patrick squeezed my hand.


PATRICK:     It was fucking Baltic. I wished I’d brought a warmer coat. I didn’t know the weather would be this… different. London’s warmer in the spring. Ireland’s bloody cold. Grey. Fucking miserable.

I’d never been to a Catholic funeral before. The service was depressing. I sat in the church feeling out of place.

All those white faces.

Angela asked me if I would help carry the coffin. ‘Would you take a turn?’ she said. This woman who I’d never even met.

This woman my dad…

His dirty little…

The coffin was so light. Like it had feathers in it instead of a body.

It was even colder up at the cemetery. The wind. Jesus! I wanted to stick my hands in my pockets but Angela held on to me and wouldn’t let go.

Tears streaming down her face.

She looks a bit like him. Around the eyes, mostly.

My father.

Our father…


Running time: @ 15 minutes.


“Secrets” was first performed as part of Terra Nova Productions with Accidental Theatre’s ‘Arrivals 2’ at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, from 11-14 March 2015, with further performances at Strand Arts Centre, East Belfast, March 15; Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, March 18; Playhouse, Derry, March 20; Market Place Theatre, March 21; Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, March 22; The Courtyard Theatre, Newtownabbey, March 25; Old Courthouse, Antrim, March 26; Ards Art Centre, Newtownards, March 27; Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, March 28. 

Angela was played by Melissa Dean. Patrick was played by Robert Bertrand.

“Secrets” was written by James Meredith and directed by Andrea Montgomery with a score by Anthony Toner. 




Don’t Get Me Wrong

arrivals dont get me


Music: “Don’t Get Me Wrong” by Anthony Toner. 

Two friends, AMY and IRINA, stand around a tall table in a city centre bar drinking and chatting. Both are smartly dressed. AMY is quite animated, using her hands expressively as she talks. IRINA is more reserved: there is a stillness about her. At STAGE BACK is a tall bar stool.

AMY: So I’m pulling Sniffer by the lead. You know how he is, always with his nose in something. It’s cold out, and I want to get home. And this man, this Irish man, comes walking past. And he says (in broad Belfast accent), “Alright love, you taking your dinner for a walk?”

IRINA: My God!

AMY: I know! He didn’t even stop. He just kept walking, laughing to himself.

IRINA: So rude. They think they’re so funny. Always the comedians.

ENTER MICHAEL, a little ‘merry.’ He wears an overcoat over a suit which is a little small for him, a shirt and black tie. He is carrying a pint in one hand and a whiskey in the other.

He notices the two women, thinks about approaching them, hesitates, then takes a seat on the tall bar stool. This happens as the women’s conversation continues below.

AMY: I was so angry with him. I’m not Korean. You can tell I’m Chinese if you look. I’m stylish, I wear smart clothes.

IRINA: It’s the same at the hospital. They always presume I’m Polish. Patients, porters, even the other doctors when they first meet me. Then when I tell them I come from Bucharest, they hear Budapest. The world must be so small to them. Always looking in, never looking out…

Running time: @ 17 minutes.

“Don’t Get Me Wrong” was first performed as part of Terra Nova Productions with Accidental Theatre’s ‘Arrivals’ at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, from 12-15 February 2014, with further performances at the Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards, February 19; Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, February 20; Market Place Theatre, Armagh, February 21; Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, February 22. 

Amy was played by Michelle Yim, Irina by Cristina Catalina, Michael by James Doran & ‘G’ by Raj Bajaj.

“Don’t Get Me Wrong” was written by James Meredith and directed by Andrea Montgomery with a score by Anthony Toner. 

For a review of Arrivals CLICK HERE

For a feature article about Arrivals CLICK HERE

To find out more about Terra Nova Productions CLICK HERE




Shadow & Light: a monologue


(Music: Sleep Walk – Santo & Johnny)


Late evening.


Geraldine’s bedroom.


(Music fades slowly after 20 seconds, at same time lights fade up.)


Front centre a double bed, covered in a white duvet. A white phone is on the bed on top of the pillows.


Sitting at the foot of the bed, facing front, a young woman, Geraldine. She is wearing a white towelling robe & brushing her hair.


A moment’s silence, then she addresses the audience.




I haven’t slept in four nights now, but it’s not insomnia I’m suffering from. I have slept. Every day I sleep, from sunrise to sunset. I just can’t sleep at night. I try, though. God knows I do.

(She stands.)

After a long day’s sleep I get up, have breakfast, watch TV, then – around midnight – go back to bed. I try breathing exercises, ones that I read in a book one time that are supposed to help when you can’t sleep.

What I do is, I draw a breath slowly in, hold it in my lungs for a few seconds, then breath out slowly through my nose until all the air is gone, all the while concentrating my thoughts on the space between the tip of my nose and the top of my lip. It doesn’t work. Not for me, anyway.

Last night I tried getting drunk. I worked my way through two bottles of red wine. One’s usually enough to have my head spinning and my eyes closing, but this time there was no effect: none whatsoever. I lay in bed, eyes wide open in the dark, and listened to the alarm clock tick away the seconds until dawn. As the walls of the room began to pale, I felt myself finally drifting off into sleep. I woke up again this evening, as soon as the sun set…


Running time: @ 25 minutes.

(c) James Meredith 2013.

Shadow & Light was first performed as part of Lunchbox Theatre at the Black Box, Belfast, on 28th June 2013. Geraldine was played by Mary Lindsay. It was written & directed by James Meredith.