Above: Schull Drama Group presenting the Pinter classic ‘No Man’s Land'
It’s March, it’s springtime and while the March Hare and Mad Hatter may be suspected to be in front of the looking glass, they may well be following Alice and her friends to the ‘wonderland’ of drama on stage in the 57th West Cork Drama Festival in Rossmore. The festival runs from Friday, March 9 until Sunday March 18 and the programme includes something for everyone to savour.
The festival opens on Friday March 9 with Schull Drama Group presenting the Pinter classic ‘No Man’s Land’. Exploring the limbo between life and death, an enigmatic encounter between a few men opens up an exploration of past relationships with witty interludes and a haunting, lyrical language.
On Saturday, Bridge Drama Group from Co Wexford take to the stage with Michael Cooney’s farcical comedy ‘Cash on Delivery’. This riotous farce centres on a welfare scam claimant opening his door to find a tax inspector there. Mayhem follows with further surprises and much hilarity.
Following this on Sunday, Curtain Call Productions, hailing from Dungarvan Co Waterford, present Neil La Bute’s contemporary drama ‘Some Girls’. The ghosts of girlfriends past revisit a groom to be who is both a pilgrim and a rake, as he tries to make amends while also ensuring he hasn’t missed out on something with any of them. A delightful night’s entertainment.
On Monday night, East Cork’s Conna Drama Group stage the hilarious Ray Cooney comedy ‘Caught in the Net’. This is the sequel to his successful comedy ‘Run for Your Wife’. A bigamist tried to keep his two families happy but unbeknownst to him his teenage children have got to know each other over the internet leading to comical pandemonium.
The local Kilmeen Drama Group presents the Irish classic ‘The Shaughraun’ by Dion Boucicault on Tuesday, March 13. While ‘The Colleen Bawn’ might the more well-known melodrama from this Irish playwright of the 1800s this play has also had very successful turns over the years. Described as a ‘glorious romp of shamroguery’, it abounds with comical characterisations including squireeens, comely maidens, fenian nobleman and a conniving poacher. A fun-filled entertaining drama.
On Wednesday March 14, Skibbereen Theatre Society tread the boards with Mike Leigh’s uproarious comedy ‘Abigail’s Party’. This British satirical comedy of manners is one of Leigh’s most successful and popular plays and is sure to have the audience rollicking in their seats.
Travelling down from Tallow Co Waterford, Brideview Drama Group present ‘Stolen Child’ by Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and Yvonne Quinn on Thursday, March 15. This contemporary Irish play will move people from tears to laughter in exploring one woman’s journey to find her birth mother with the help of an irreverently humorous private detective.
Friday, March 16 sees the production of Neil Kempinski’s ‘Duet for One’ by Nenagh Players from Co. Tipperary. This deeply moving drama about a brilliant concert violinist stricken by multiple sclerosis revolves around sessions she has with her psychiatrist making for compelling theatre. The play is loosely based on the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré and was adapted for film in the 1980s and starred Julie Andrews and Max von Sydow.
On St Patrick’s night, Gorey Drama Group from Co Wexford close the festival with James Wesley’s ‘Unbroken Circle’. This emotionally charged tense family drama explores the generational dynamics of trauma broken by wry and humorous interludes. Opening with a funeral reception this simmering drama quickly reaches boiling point when the family secrets are revealed and the skeletons in the cupboards break out to shock of the audience.
The adjudicator, Russel Boyce makes a welcome return to Rossmore having adjudicated here previously in 2012. Dr. Boyce spent most of his career at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he was Director and Dean of Drama. Most of his life has been concerned with training actors, directors and drama teachers. He has adjudicated the All Ireland Drama finals on three occasions.
Tickets cost €12. Online booking is now open at www.rossmoretheatre.com. The festival booking office opens on Monday March 5, 12-7pm at 086-4481086. Doors open at 7pm and all plays start at 8pm. The Festival Committee would like to thank all the festival sponsors and supporters.