Above: Sharon Mawe and Michael Crowley perform Kilmeen Drama Group's 'Death and the Maiden'.
Saint Patrick may have driven the snakes out of Ireland but its top quality drama that will be driving people out of their sitting rooms to the annual full length drama festival, which runs from Friday, March 13 to Sunday, March 22. This year’s festival contains a veritable assortment of Irish and International plays including intrigue, tragedy and comedy, set to captivate, provoke and absorb festival goers.
The festival opens with Amphitheatre Company from Kilkee, Co.Clare with their production of Jennifer Johnston’s ‘The Desert Lullaby’. Moving between the Ireland of the Emergency years to the present day, this moving and at times hilarious and shocking play explores the events that shaped the lives of two women. This is followed on Saturday night by Rasper Players who hail from Wexford and are presenting contemporary Irish playwright Marina Carr’s intriguing ‘Woman and Scarecrow’. Filled with black humour this provocative play focuses on a woman’s self-exploration of her life past and present.
On Sunday night Doonbeg Drama Group make the journey from Clare to here to present one of Arthur Miller’s classic plays — ‘The Price’. Family secrets and duplicity are at the heart of this engrossing classic American play where things are not always as they seem.
Rossmore regulars the Shoestring Theatre Company from Charleville bring the contemporary Irish play ‘Trad’ by Mark Doherty to the festival on Monday 16. This lyrical and musical play looking at a changing Ireland through the eyes of a father and son was a very popular West Cork and All Ireland winning play for the Millrace Drama Group in 2013.
On St Patrick’s night, Skibbereen Theatre Society, well known to regular festival goers, will stage ‘Family Plot’ by contemporary Armagh playwright Daragh Carville. A darkly comic play centring on family dynamics across the generations in the afterlife, this play, new to the West Cork Festival, is sure to captivate the audience.
Wednesday, March 18 sees the local Kilmeen Group production of Ariel Dorfman’s ‘Death and the Maiden’. This provocative moral thriller is an international classic, which is sure to have festival goers gripped and pondering to the end. This play is not suitable for children and contains gunfire.
On Thursday, Palace Players from Fermoy present the popular Tom Murphy play ‘Conversations on a Homecoming’. The reunion of an émigré with his friends in Ireland in the 1970s is the focus of this play which explores the tensions faced between leaving and staying. This taut play has moments of great humour and poignancy and is always a favourite amongst drama audiences.
Ballyduff Drama Group from West Waterford present ‘Takin’ over the Asylum’ by Donna Franceschild on Friday, March 20. This hilarious and very moving play is another new play to the festival. Originally a screenplay that was televised in the UK in the 1990s, the playwright revised it for the stage and presents a tender and humorous exploration of social attitudes towards mental illness.
Saturday March 21 sees Wexford based Bridge Drama Group present ‘Pygmalion’ by George Bernard Shaw. Well known as the basis for the musical film ‘My Fair Lady’, this witty play is packed with memorable one liners, which will have festival goers chuckling in their seats.
On the final night Sunday, March 22, Brideview Drama Group from Tallow present Marina Carr’s ‘Portia Coughlan’. Infidelity, incest and domestic violence are at the heart of this tragic and darkly humorous play set in the Irish midlands in the 1990s.
The adjudicator is Brendan Murray. Brendan is currently Artistic Director of Áras Inis Gluaire — Erris Arts Centre, which is situated in beautiful Belmullet. Having acted professionally for 20 years, including Ros na Rún, he now directs primarily.
The booking office opens March 9, from 12pm-7pm. Tel: 023-8838526/086-4481086. Credit card bookings or cash can be paid with the collection of tickets in advance. Tickets are priced €12 per night.
The festival committee would like to thank all its sponsors for their continued support.