Playwright Neil Flynn introduces his new work Gravity (A Love Story), premiering this month at the Belltable, Limerick, which features characters both fictional and historical such as Joan of Arc, Charles Dickens, and George Orwell, in an adventure across 20 locations (and the fourth dimension), spanning from the 15th to the 21st century...

A thought experiment to begin: two black holes, thirty times the mass of the sun, circle each other, faster, closer until one cosmic day they collide…'kiss’. The resulting surge of kinetic energy sends gravity waves rippling outward at the speed of light through the fabric of space. Picture them stretching and squeezing everything they encounter as they go.

Let your mind journey one point four billion years on: September 14th 2015 at 1:51pm for the first time ever, proving another element of Einstein’s theory of Gravity known as General Relativity correct, these gravity waves are detected by the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational detectors located at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington. The waves pass through the earth, stretching it and squeezing everything on it a fraction of an atomic diameter.

Suffice to say you probably didn’t notice a thing.

Elaine O'Dwyer stars in Gravity (A Love Story)

In my play Gravity (A Love Story) produced by Bottom Dog Theatre Company and directed by Conall Morrison, this monumental, little known cosmic event, which has changed the nature of how we explore the universe, forms the sine qua non of a love story that stretches over centuries, continents, tragedy and comedy, culminating in the fated union of an Englishman and an Irishwoman. Together, in a fever of love, high on the mountains of Mourne, they will gain insight into a force that connects them and their many lives to a new and heightened perspective of the universe.

The opportunity to confect and dramatize a play that aspires to a fantasia of characters and ideas taking in politics, culture, romance, the fourth dimension and astrophysics with a cast of four actors proved irresistible, which is the only force that ultimately compels one to complete a new piece with the intention of one day considering it worthy of production.

I recall standing in the attic of a house in Kerry. The only furniture it contained was an old chair, a rickety lawn table and the laptop on top of it; on the wall in front of the table hung a dartboard. For some reason I’d never had the urge to pluck the darts out of it and aim to better the score of whoever had thrown them before me. On the laptop screen the dart of a cursor flashed pointedly. I had reached the mid-way point of what was then called 'Kilonova’.

Playwright Neil Flynn

My dramatic bullseye was still hazy. I wondered was I aiming for a target that only I could see. Was there any point continuing to write this thing? There were safer dramatic moorings to be found: conventional, familiar, well-worn. Perhaps then I realised that that was precisely why I had to plonk myself down and plough on. Maybe I’d ignite that exhilarating spark that had prompted me to begin. Maybe I’d quench it for good. I ploughed on. I caught the elusive wave.

A character in the play observes: ‘Gravity ensures nothing in the universe is ever truly alone.’ Matter draws matter. A writer is drawn to their work. Irresistibly. Mysteriously.

Gravity A Love Story is at The Belltable, Limerick, from 16th-19th Feb - find out more here.

Pics: Sean Curtin