Multiple All-Ireland awards for Kildare drama groups

Cast of Silken Thomas who came second in the All-Ireland Drama Festival on Saturday night.
Kildare drama groups Prosperous Drama Society and Silken Thomas picked up numerous prizes at the All Ireland Drama Festival

Kildare drama groups Prosperous Drama Society and Silken Thomas picked up numerous prizes at the All Ireland Drama Festival

These included several nominations and awards for best actor, as well as placing second (Silken Thomas) and third (Prosperous), but missed out, once again on the top prize.

For the third year in a row, Cork-based group Kilmeen won the All-Ireland with their version of Playboy of the Western World.

In contrast to the other seven groups who made it to the All-Ireland’s with plays like ‘By the Bog of Cats’, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ and ‘Playboy of the Western World’, both of the Kildare-based groups brought challenging and controversial plays to Athlone.

Prosperous had ‘The Goat, or who is Sylvia’, about a successful New York architect who destroys his apparently perfect life by falling in love with - and beginning a sexual relationship - a goat.

The play is mainly concerned with the discovery, by his wife, of his strange infidelity.

Silken Thomas had ‘Mercury Fur’, considered to be one of the most shocking plays of recent years, which portrays a break down in societal order in London at some point in the future, where people have become addicted to eating hallucinogenic butterflies. During the play, a group of scavangers try to make a living by facilitating a wealthy business man to live out his fantasy of brutally killing a teenage boy – known as ‘the party piece’.

Silken Thomas’s high energy production won all of the eight festivals it entered, but were dismayed to receive a not-so-glowing adjudication when they performed in Athlone last Friday night.

Speaking to the Leinster Leader both clubs emphasised their satisfaction at the consistency down through the years. Since 2006, Silken Thomas have never done worse than third, while this generation of Prosperous thespians feature regularly in the placings and won the All-Ireland for their one-act production ‘Bobby Gould in Hell’ last year.

As well as coming second and third, Zita McGarry Kelly (Prosperous), Patricia Walsh Henry and Colin Malone (both Silken Thomas) were nominated for best actress, best supporting actress and best actor respectively. Sean Judge (Silken Thomas) was nominated in the category of best director.

Robert Massey (Prosperous) won the Best Actor gong. The adjudicator compared him to 19th century actor David Garrick, about whom it was said “there were flashes of lightening”.

Meanwhile Dean Gorry (Silken Thomas) won a scholarship to the Drama League of Ireland Summer School.

-Conor McHugh