Playwright Tom Murphy joined the cast of Druid Theatre on Monday as rehearsals kicked off for the world premiere of his latest work, Brigit, which will open in Galway next month.
Brigit is a prequel to Tom’s 1985 masterpiece, Bailegangaire, and the two pieces are being staged as part of one major production.
Both will be directed by Druid’s Artistic Director Garry Hynes, who directed Bailegangaire first time out.
The central figure of Bailegangaire is Mommo, who tells over and over again a story she never finishes. It’s about the town of Bochtán and how it came to be known as Bailegangaire, or the town without laughter. Mary, Mommo’s granddaughter, looks after her, but is torn between staying and going. Mary’s sister, Dolly, counts down the days before her husband, Stephen, returns from England when she’s determined to be ready for him. The sisters’ relationship is not harmonious.
The original production of Bailegangaire featured Siobhán McKenna as Mommo, Marie Mullen as Mary and Mary McEvoy as Dolly. Marie Mullen is back this time when she takes on the enormous role of Mommo, while Aisling O’Sullivan plays Dolly and Catherine Walsh plays Mary.
For Brigit, Tom Murphy travels back in time 30 years to weave a new pattern from the lives of these three women. He also adds other memorable characters including Mommo’s husband Seamus (Bosco Hogan), grandchild Tom, the local curate, Fr Kilgariff (Marty Rea) and the Reverend Mother (Jane Brennan).
Mommo’s husband, Seamus, is an odd-job man with ‘a great pair of hands’. He is given ‘a commission’ by the church to carve a statue. His previous experience of working for the church was none too happy. However, he reluctantly accepts the commission and as he works on the statue, his obsession with it grows. This comes to involve his family, who are on the breadline – Mommo and the three grandchildren they have inherited.
For Tom Murphy, the “two plays belong together” and he is excited at the prospect of seeing what Druid will do with them. Garry Hynes agrees that they are companion pieces.
“I can think of no better circumstances in which to present the world premiere of Brigit than alongside a revival of Tom’s great play, Bailegangaire,” she says.
Both Brigit and Bailegangaire will be staged at Galway’s Town Hall Theatre from September 9-21, with the world premiere of Brigit and the opening night of Bailegangaire in a double bill on Sunday, September 14.
Brigit will preview at the Town Hall on September 9 and 19 and Bailegangaire will preview on September 11 and 12, both at 8pm.
The two will preview together on September 13 at 6.30pm, before the official opening on September 14.
Maeve named as Film Fleadh programmer
Limerick woman Maeve McGrath has been named as the new Director of Programming for Galway Film Fleadh, taking over from Will Fitzgerald. She will be responsible for curating this year’s festival, which will run from July 11-16.
She previously worked as artistic director of Kerry International Film Festival, producer at Carlow Arts Festival and joint short film programmer at Dublin International Film Festival.
Maeve is involved with Limerick’s artist-led, community-focused facility, The GAFF where she recently curated a community audio/visual project, Tiny Little Histories, and produced TravFest, a Traveller wellness festival as part of Guth na Mincéirí.
She has a Master’s in Media Studies from Limerick’s Mary I/UL, graduating in 2015 with the thesis, Irish Short Film: The Road To Oscar.
“The Fleadh has a very special place on the film festival circuit, nationally and internationally, and I am delighted to be part of the team that will programme the 35th edition,” she stated.
“I forward to being part of the continued growth of the Galway Film Fleadh and supporting the development of emerging and established filmmakers.”
Mystery of Wolfe Tone’s death
Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan will be at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday next, February 2, with The Murder of Wolfe Tone, the incredible story of the mysterious death of Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the 1798 Rebellion and the man who is regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.
In this audio-visual show featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and a vast array of songs, Paddy works to unravel the secrets and lies around what happened that fateful week in Dublin’s Provost’s Prison in November 1798 when 35-year-old Tone was found dead in his cell.
Tickets for The Murder of Wolfe Tone, which starts at 8pm are €20/18, plus a €1 booking charge. They are available at tht.ie, 091-569777 and at the Town Hall Theatre Box Office.
Funnyman Neil brings latest show to Athenry
Comedian Neil Delamere will bring his new show, Delamerium, to the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Saturday, February 18.
Audiences can expect hilarious stories, wry observations and quick-witted improvisation as Neil tries to makes sense of the world around him.
Neil is one of the top acts working in the Irish comedy scene today, well-known to audiences for his regular television appearances on RTÉ and BBC, as well as his hilarious sell-out stand up tours.
His shows have received stellar reviews and resulted in several platinum-selling DVDs, while Neil has also written and presented comedy documentaries including programmes on the Vikings and St Patrick which won IFTA and Celtic Media awards.
He also presented a series on heroes from Ireland’s past, Holding out for a Hero, on RTÉ 2.
He’s a regular on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular panel show, The Blame Game, as well as being a panellist on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and has featured on BBC 4’s The News Quiz.
According to the Irish Times, ‘no TV camera could accurately measure the lightning speed of Delamere’s wit’, while the Scotsman awarded him five stars during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, stating: ‘You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.’
He continues to tour at home and abroad and audiences can catch his latest show, Delamerium, on February 18 in Athenry.
Tickets for Delamerium are available from the hotel or at ticketsolve.ie