SCHULL Drama Group has been sweeping the boards in the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three-act festivals, winning five out of the six competitions that they entered. Their play is No Man’s Land by the Nobel prize-winning playwright, Harold Pinter, directed by Jennifer Williams.
No Man’s Land is set in a stately London home and involves an alcohol-soaked encounter between two ageing writers, Hirst (played by Pat Bracken) and Spooner (Anthony Harris). Their conversation wanders through events and memories either invented or long-forgotten.
When Hirst’s two servants, Foster (Caleb Cairns) and Briggs (Sean O’Connell), enter the scene, the atmosphere quickly becomes threatening. A struggle for survival ensues between Foster and Briggs, and the loquacious Spooner.
The play explores such themes as the unreliability of memory, the frailty of human connections and the isolation that can accompany alcoholism and ageing. Pinter’s poetic writing gives the story a dream-like, surreal quality. The cast and crew have taken No Man’s Land on a journey across the Irish countryside over the last few weeks, heading north to Portadown (Co Armagh), west to Tubbercurry (Co Sligo), Claremorris (Co Mayo) and Scarriff (Co Clare), to Rathangan in Co Kildare and, of course, to our own local festival in Rossmore.
Apart from winning five first places, they have also won a string of other awards, including several for best actor, best supporting actor, best director, best director’s interpretation of a play and best set and lighting. In three festivals they won the prize for the overall best play-production of the entire festival (both open and confined groups).
They now go on to the All-Ireland Confined Drama finals, to be held this year in Carnew, Co Wicklow, between April 13th and 21st.