Naas play returns to Moat after Edinburgh success

It’s based on the impact of WW1 in Naas

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Naas play returns to Moat after Edinburgh success

Pete Kavanagh, Mary Power Cooney and Tom Noone are among the cast

A play written by a local man about the impact of World War 1 on Naas families returns to the Moat Theatre on Sunday and Monday next September 23 and 24 (8pm), after sellout performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Naas CBS teacher Tom Noone, who wrote the play describes the forthcoming performances of Who will Separate Us as a hometown farewell. It recounts the true stories of many Naas people during the Great War of 1914 to 1918.

The cast and crew had a wonderful reception in Edinburgh with many great reviews and two sell-out shows.

Despite the fact that the play is set in Naas the international audience fully understood the main themes and issues of the play.

Tom was delighted to see the play succeed at Edinburgh. “It was amazing to think that the international audiences totally understood and loved this story, the cast and crew were really proud to see our town and its people celebrated.”

The importance of the Edinburgh Fringe in international terms made an impact on all the cast and crew as it really is a global event. To have a play from Naas and an original true story at that was something that was not lost on Moat Club stalwart Eilish Rafferty who plays Mary Reilly in the play.

“The experience was incredible. We have nothing like it here. The festivals, including the festival Fringe, which Who Will Separate Us was part of, take over the city. There are venues everywhere and the buzz in the city is unbelievable. There is something on from 9 in the morning till 3 the next morning. It was so exciting to be part of it. With the thousands of shows on, I found it extraordinary that people actually picked out our show to come and see,” said Eilish.

Before going to Scotland the play had a sold-out show in The Moat Theatre and returns to due the big demand. The play itself centres around the true story of Edward and Annie Noone, and was written by their great grandson Tom. After much research and hundreds of historical documents were uncovered the play was put together. Another character in the play is Naas woman, and a neighbour of Edward and Annie Noone, called Mary Reilly. During the course of three weeks in 1916 the story unfolds and many Naas people and places are mentioned. The main action centres around the involvement of over 400 men from Naas and neighbouring parishes in the First World War. All the stories and events recounted are true and the writer has simply re-created imagined scenes and happenings from this time.

The work of local historian, James Durney was a huge help to the writer as well as family stories.

The cast includes regular Moat club actors, Mary Power-Cooney, Eilish Rafferty, Michael McHugh and Tom Noone. Local musician Pete Kavanagh, also a great grandson of Edward and Annie Noone, plays the music which accompanies the play. Pete is the son of another noted local musician, Barney Kavanagh.

On Sunday there will be a special questions and answer session and a history forum after the play. The cast and crew and several noted historians will hold a discussion forum called ‘The Women and Men of the Great War, 1914-1918’.

This forum hopes to open up opinion and discussion on the effects of WWI on the women of the town of Naas and elsewhere and everyone is invited to take part in this free event. It will begin at 8.45 after the play has been performed.