The final night’s offering at Lislea was from the Sillan Players of Castleblaney and was Frank McGuinness’s Carthaginians, a most complex, layered, metaphorical and allegorical play. Indeed far too much so for most teams of the confined circuit, and this it proved to be.
On the night the cast wasted time in setting the right atmosphere, threw away lines at critical moments, failed to convey the primacy of truth-telling in the hoped-for resurrection – and when the time came, the revelations largely went unnoticed in the audience – and indeed the audience generally missed the point of the whole exercise. When the adjudicator gave a reasoned explanation of the MacGuinness play and its intent prior to his critique, I felt I had sat through a different production.
Rightly the team’s Producer won the award for staging the most challenging play. But then they took the premier award also! Paradoxically (at least, I thought so) the Best Producer went to Kerry Rooney of Lislea (he also won Best Supporting Actor).
Surely the contest is all about the premier award going to the best production? They are separate awards, I know, but rarely go to different teams and I suspect such division of honours is indicative of indecision on the part of the adjudicator. Lislea – I believed unfairly – took runners-up position.
I felt confident of a home win for I thought Lislea had the stronger team on stage. Other adjudicators agreed but our judge, John McArdle of Castleblayney felt that Castleblayney had the edge.
For the record, the other awards on the night went to :
Best Actor : Ger Liston of Ardagh, who played the part of the Altzimers-suffering Dad in A Quiet Moment : this play also had ‘Best Moment of Theatre’ and the Audience Award and Best Stage Management and Best Character Portrayal
Best Actress : Eva Fidgeon who played Greta in Sillan’s Carthaginians.
After yet another very successful Festival, my admiration for, and appreciation of Lislea, its Drama Company and its Festival Committee and all the supporters of this tiny rural community remains undiminished: indeed it is further enhanced!
Well done, one and all! Here’s to the next!