Lughnasa: Newpoint, tonight

Tonight is the big one, the performance we have all been waiting for, the appearance of the home side Newpoint, presenting Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa. It is the welcome return as director of Sean Treanor and as actors of the fabulous team of Patricia McCoy, Pauline Lynch, Denise Taylor, Paul McParland, Pat Mooney and Laurie Hodgett and the debut of Corrina Cunningham and Molly Finn. 

We have had good houses but I expect tonight to be a sell-out.

You have been warned.

A funny thing happened me last evening on my way from the theatre.

I was inching my way down the crowded aisle of the Town Hall when I heard my name called out three times like successive rifle shots. I turned around to see the recent atheist but now evangelist looking at me but apparently addressing some fictitious person twenty paces ahead of me. His eyes shone with a new fervour.

‘I was right. I am vindicated!’

I looked both ways. No. He was definitely addressing me.

‘A load of drivel! No point whatever to the play!’

He appeared to imply support from Mr Rushforth for this opinion. I raised an enquiring eyebrow.

‘You heard him. Lifford has lost the plot!’

As other heads turned in his direction, I ducked into the milling crowd and made good my escape. 

In the car on my way home, I passed him striding purposefully along Water Street, his long-suffering wife, head bowed as if battling a roaring gale which could only have been in her mind, some twenty paces ahead of him. Fifty years of marriage has taught a strategy. I began to understand … and to better grasp at least one salient point from the Wilder’s classic we had just seen.

I should not be surprised to find the old matelot on Hill Street at the weekend, entombed in a sandwich-board and proclaiming that The End is Nigh.

Just in case, I shall shop in The Quays for a while!

I heard a different adjudication, a ringing endorsement by Tony of a strong team presenting a very-challenging classic play, that, through length, number of actors, lack of props and variety of themes presents some severe challenges. 

His recurrent objection this week has been of slow pace (the one point that the new Loyolan acolyte clung to) – this usually through excess wordiness – with which I concur.

I would however caution, ‘Physician, heal thyself!’

For two nights in a row we, ensconced on uncomfortable seats, and not being players or seasoned thespians, have had over two hours of intense drama and we scarcely need a further twenty-five minutes of detailed adjudication!

Every word has relevance, I grant, but most of it to the cast alone.

I still love this adjudicator. It is to his credit that all listen carefully and, in four nights we have had only two runners during his adjudications, perhaps a record low.

A little more brevity, Tony, please!




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