THE 57th West Cork Drama Festival opens in St Mary’s Theatre, Rossmore, this Friday, and runs until Saturday, March 17th.
Theatregoers will have plenty of choice among the nine plays to be presented, from riveting dramas through theatrical classics to comedies. This year, for the first time, the festival is offering online booking at www.rossmoretheatre.com. The tickets cost €12 and they may also be booked through the festival box office from 12 to 7pm daily, telephone 086-4481086 or 023-8838526.
Schull Drama Group has the honour of opening the 2018 festival on Friday night, 9th, presenting the Pinter classic No Man’s Land. Exploring the limbo between life and death, an enigmatic encounter between a few men opens up an exploration of past relationships with witty interludes and a haunting, lyrical language.
This Saturday, Bridge Drama Group from Co Wexford take to the stage with Michael Cooney’s comedy Cash on Delivery. This riotous farce centres on a welfare scam claimant opening his door to find a tax inspector there. Mayhem follows with further surprises and much hilarity.
Following this, on Sunday, Curtain Call Productions, from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, presents Neil La Bute’s contemporary drama Some Girls. The ghosts of girlfriends past revisit a groom-to-be, who is both a pilgrim and a rake, as he tries to make amends while also ensuring he hasn’t missed out on something with any of them.
On Monday night, East Cork’s Conna Drama Group stages the hilarious Ray Cooney comedy Caught in the Net. This is the sequel to his successful comedy Run for Your Wife. A bigamist tried to keep his two families happy, but unbeknownst to him, his teenage children have got to know each other over the internet leading to comical pandemonium.
The local Kilmeen Drama Group presents the Irish classic, The Shaughraun by Dion Boucicault, on Tuesday 13th. While The Colleen Bawn might be the more well-known melodrama from this Irish playwright of the 1800s, this play has also had very successful turns over the years. Described as a ‘glorious romp of shamroguery,’ a full house in Rossmore should enable the group to fully milk its potential for madcap comedy.
On Wednesday 14th, Skibbereen Theatre Society treads the boards with the Mike Leigh comedy Abigail’s Party. This British satirical comedy of manners is one of Leigh’s most successful and popular plays and should keep the audience well entertained.
Travelling over from Tallow in Co Waterford, Brideview Drama Group present the excellent Stolen Child by Báirbre Ní Chaoimh and Yvonne Quinn on Thursday 15th. This contemporary Irish play will move people from tears to laughter in exploring one woman’s journey to find her birth mother with the help of a seemingly-scattered private detective.
Friday 16th sees the production of Neil Kempinski’s Duet for One by Nenagh Players from Co Tipperary. This deeply moving drama about a brilliant concert violinist stricken by multiple sclerosis revolves around sessions she has with her psychiatrist making for compelling theatre. It is loosely based on the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré.
On St Patrick’s Night, Gorey Drama Group from Co Wexford closes the festival with James Wesley’s Unbroken Circle. This emotionally-charged, tense family drama explores the generational dynamics of trauma broken by wry and humorous interludes, as some shocking family secrets are revealed.
The adjudicator, Russel Boyce makes a welcome return to Rossmore, having adjudicated there previously in 2012. Dr Boyce spent most of his career at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he was Director and Dean of Drama.
Most of his life has been concerned with training actors, directors and drama teachers. He has adjudicated the All-Ireland Drama Finals on three occasions.
Doors open at 7pm nightly and all plays start at 8pm. The Festival Committee has thanked all its sponsors and supporters.