John McCullagh April 26, 2004

I’ve seen before just three of the nine dramas to be staged on consecutive nights [8 p.m. nightly from Fri 23 April to Sat 1 May] in Warrenpoint Town Hall in the 52nd [same number as Newry Drama Festival celebrated this year!] All-Ireland Confined Drama Finals.  All three are great entertainment – Newpoint’s very first triumph ‘Our Town’ by Thornton Wilder[Wed 28]: Bernard Farrell’s ‘Kevin’s Bed’ [Fri 23] (I saw this at Lislea last year) and the fantastic Marie Jones’ ‘Women on the Verge of HRT’ on the final night.  The latter is sure to be a sell-out.

In addition, we are to be entertained to ‘Bent’ by Martin Sherman [24 Apr], ‘Eclipsed’ by Patricia Brogan [Sun 25] [the play that recently eclipsed the home team at Lislea – see story here], ‘Stolen Child’ by Yvonne Quinn [26 Apr], ‘Cash on Delivery’ by Michael Cooney [Tues 27], ‘The cripple of Innismann’ by Martin McDonagh [Thurs 29] and ‘Thy Will Be Done’ by Michael Carey on the penultimate night.

Amazingly the Silken Thomas Players, Kildare are presenting TWO full length plays here [Bent and HRT].  I’ve no idea how but it’s a story worth learning!  I’ll do my best for you! Wexford is represented by two groups [Ballycogley, Kevin’s Bed and Bridge Drama Society, Innismann].  Phoenix, Sligo are doing Our Town:  Creggan, Tyrone, as previously recorded here, are giving us Eclipsed:  Another Tyrone outfit, Backburners are presenting the Carey play:  Bridgeview, Waterford are giving us Cash on Delivery:  and Skibbereen are giving us Stolen Child.  A hearty welcome, congratulations and thanks to each and every team in advance.  We are honoured by your presence among us!

The Plots? 

Friday, Kevin’s Bed:  Kitchen of a house in West of Ireland today and 25 years ago, Doris and Dan’s Golden and Silver Wedding Anniversaries.  They try to come to terms with their sons’ [Kevin and John] hapless lives.

Saturday, Bent:  1930’s Nazi Germany:  Max and Rudy, his homosexual flatmate begin a nightmare odyssey across Germany.  Max refuses to abandon Rudy and they are soon caught.  En route to Dachau Rudy is killed and Horst, another homosexual prisoner warns Max to deny Rudy which he does.  Max opts for the label Jew rather than Queer, but through Horst he is forced to reveal the truth.

Sunday, Eclipsed.  With a present-day prologue and epilogue, the play is set in a convent laundry in 1963 showing how the ‘penitent’ girls cope with the life that society has condemned them to.  Topical!

Monday, Stolen Child:  humorous and moving.  An adopted woman investigates her origins.  Like the above, it soon becomes a fascinating exploration of a dark chapter in recent Irish history.

Tuesday, Cash on Delivery:  About a social welfare swindler who gets caught – hilarious!

Wednesday, Our Town:  Early 20th century Grover’s Corner, NH, USA is gradually revealed through its inhabitants.

Thursday, Cripple of Innismann:  Billy the cripple of Innismann [1934] lives with his foster aunt and gets the unexpected chance to star in a film ‘Man of Aran’.  Will he make it to Hollywood?

Friday, Thy Will Be Done:  Brothers in rural Ireland, living together, haven’t spoken to each other for 40 years.  Bridie the home-help, with a little divine help, resolves the dilemma.

Saturday, Women on verge of HRT:  Dublin women in Donegal, faithless men – ah, just go and see it yourself!!!

 

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