Bessie Burgess (Brid Hernon-Hoey) and Mrs. Gogan (Esther Reddy)
Kilcullen Drama Group’s production of The Plough and the Stars takes to the stage next week at the Town Hall Theatre in Kilcullen.
In Sean O’Casey’s major opus, he looked at the noble aspirations of the poets and intellectuals who fomented the rebellion, and how they were viewed by the ordinary people of Dublin.
He also gives a critical analysis of how the fighting impacted on the lives of the poor men, women and children living in dire conditions in the tenements of our capital city.
The Plough and the Stars is indeed a very serious play. However, the genius of O’Casey allows the audience to laugh out loud in the midst of such human tragedy.
He peoples his play with such wonderful comic characters as Fluther Good, Bessie Burgess, Mrs Gogan and Uncle Peter, who, as the tragedy unfolds around them, transport the audience into a world of comic farce.
Kilcullen Drama Group’s production of the play is directed by Mischa Fekete, a German by birth. His non-partisan interpretation gives a new and refreshing presentation to this classic work.
Producing such a complex play presents considerable difficulties. Firstly, there are 18 acting roles to be cast — the character of each one, in typical O’Casey style, being clearly defined in the script. You meet the comic Fluther (Bernard Berney, almost ‘Chaplinesque’ in his behaviour, the eccentric Uncle Peter (Maurice O’Mahony), whose antics create farcical fun and when Bessie Burgess (Brid Hernon-Hoey), and Mrs. Gogan (Esther Reddy), clash the English language is translated into a delightful, poetic, Dublinese.
A further difficulty is presented by the four set changes that must be achieved without interfering with the flow of the action. It was here that the set-design skills of Letitia Hanratty were invaluable. To see the set change from a drawing room of an old Dublin tenement building to the inside of a local public house in 20 seconds, all done in full view of the audience, is worth the price of admission.
According to PRO Philomena Breslin, “The Kilcullen Drama Group has always reached out to other voluntary organisations in the community and, in return, has received their support in our efforts. It has been an important expression of solidarity within the various groups. For this production the local branch of Pieta House, the suicide prevention organisation, are sole beneficiaries of the Gala Night on Wednesday March 29. On Sunday, April 2, the Cross & Passion Parents Association are our co-hosts.”
The production runs from Wednesday, March 29 to Thursday, April 6, in the Town Hall Theatre, Kilcullen. To book, call Berney’s Chemist on 045 481497. (between 9 am – 6 pm).