Drama Society hoping to repeat history

The members of Prosperous Drama Society are hoping history will repeat itself when their play ‘Deadline’ written by one of their members takes to the stage in the All-Ireland Amateur Drama finals.

The members of Prosperous Drama Society are hoping history will repeat itself when their play ‘Deadline’ written by one of their members takes to the stage in the All-Ireland Amateur Drama finals.

In 1959 at the first All-Irelands, the winning entrant was ‘Sive, performed by Listowel Drama Group and written by one of their members, an unknown playwright, one John B. Keane. Keane went on to become a major feature in Irish literature and theatre.

Prosperous will open the 60th All Ireland Final, with their production of ‘Deadline’ which, like ‘Sive’ was written by one of their own members, Robert Massey. Unlike John B Keane, Mr. Massey also takes the lead role.

The play is set in a pressurised sales office, where salesmen are competing for the biggest bonus in the company’s history.

Originally performed in 2006, at the height of the Celtic Tiger, Massey has rewritten the piece to reflect the changes – and the consequences – of the Irish way of doing business.

The backstabbing, betrayal and dodgy business practices in this gripping comedy drama will be all too familiar to contemporary audiences, as Deadline exposes the greed and desperation of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.

Getting to Athlone, as always, has involved a trek around the All-Ireland Festival Circuit, which features no fewer than 36 competitions the length and breadth of Ireland.

And although the cast has only 6 members, Deadline’s spectacular presentation means that the backstage crew can number as many as two dozen.

Performing in eight qualifying festivals in Mountmellick, Roscommon, Castleblaney, Derry, Claremorris, Claregalway, Rathangan and Mid-Ulster has required 1,200 miles of travel, over 1,000 man (and woman)-hours of work, 200 cups of tea, three dozen cans of Red Bull, more ham sandwiches than anyone can count, and possibly a pint or two of Guinness!

Add to this the months of preparation in set design and construction, and in rehearsals, and it’s clear that this is a labour of love for all involved.

An added twist has been the presence of cameras, recording the group for a documentary about the Amateur Drama Circuit, to air on RTE this autumn.

That documentary will follow the play’s journey from the first reading of the script last winter to the final show

The journey comes to an end, as all drama journeys do, in Athlone in May. Kildare’s Silken Thomas Players have also qualified for the finals with their performance of ‘Jerusalem’.

With an eye on drama history, Prosperous are hoping it ends on a high.

But before they get there, the play will be performed at Prosperous Theatre on April 27, 28 and 29.

Tickets €12. Booking now at 085 1615590