2009-2014: Happy Destiny. A Monologue for Radio (2009 -2014)

Happy Destiny Programming Acheivement award

Happy Destiny is a one person three part play of ninety minutes duration. It was written by Chris Reid with the help of some friends from Ballyfermot and with some guidance from Ballyfermot Drugs Task Force.

The script was produced as a play for radio broadcast by West Dublin Access radio 96fm which is located in Ballyfermot. Happy Destiny, the radio play, was broadcast on West Dublin Access Radio over three consecutive Wednesdays on May the 28th, June the 4th and June 11th 2014.

The Play – the story

The narrator, a man in his late forties and an alcoholic begins the forth step of a twelve step recovery programme. The forth step of the twelve steps involves writing up a searching and fearless moral inventory of your life. For legs, this step becomes an opportunity to recount his life story from childhood through to middle age. He describes specific hurtful incidences and the consequences and feelings that followed. These create the conditions that set legs on a path to addiction. Legs describes some of his disastrous relationships with family, community and peers and his journey into addiction, homelessness, prison and disability. Legs goes on to recount a couple of serendipitous events that gives him the time, the space, the skills and support to help him recover and connect with others to the point where he can now tell his story.

Happy destiny is not just Legs story – it is a story of living in Dublin or any other Irish city during the second half of the twentieth century. It describes many of the pitfalls experienced by men of this generation in Ireland and elsewhere.

The Process of writing Happy Destiny

This story began as a series of audio recordings Chris Reid made with men from Ballyfermot in their forties and fifties who are recovering addicted to alcohol or other drugs. These recordings were transcribed and Chris Reid wrote a rough draft for a monologue that combined experiences from this group of men some fictional elements and incidences from his own background. The intention was to create a script that was both local but was also universal in that people who read the script should be able to feel connection, empathy and understanding of the character. This was difficult to do in that the story would have to be done by following the ethos of the forth step, the script must be a fearless and moral inventory for Legs. Another intention within the process was to show the role of toxic shame and depression in the development of addiction and to do this within the context of Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century. Chris also wanted to include hope and the real possibility of redemption. One member of the group and gone through recovery and was very helpful in providing guidance. Chris supplemented this with his own research and experiences.

The initial composite narrative was shown initially to Ballyfermot Drugs Task Force who provided some guidance. The main problem was that some of the incidences depicted could be identified locally. It was decided after some discussion that the piece was authentic and very worthwhile however given the sensitivities in the local area it was decided that families of contributors would have to be consulted. In the process that followed the initial script was translated into fiction. This original script became the research from which the final work emerged.

This final script received funding from the Broadcasting authority of Ireland and went into production with the actor David Spain who brought the narrator Legs to life. The Drama received a CRAOL (The Community Radio Forum of Ireland) award.

Listen to the monologue in three parts below :-


'Happy Destiny - Part 1'

'Happy Destiny - Part 2'

'Happy Destiny - Part 3'