Less than a month after staging the hilarious Odd Couple, Muse Productions were back entertaining Shannon audiences once again with their annual One Act Festival.
Thursday night saw three confined and one open play, starting with Babysitting Calvin from Doonbeg in the confined section. This comedy is about a man reincarnated as a baby, who attempts to disrupt a date between his late wife and erstwhile friend was very popular with the audience. It was followed by a ghost story from The Suemas O’Kelly Players entitled The Monkey’s Paw which suited the wet and wild November night. Fr Matthew Player’s staged a lovely character piece in Geraldine Aron’s The Galway Girl before Ennis Players closed the night with the first open play of the festival, the absurd Burridan’s Ass had the audience in stitches.
On Friday 13th there were four plays in the confined section, all of which were serious dramatic pieces. Lucy in the Sky by Clann Machua was set in a homeless shelter and examined the problems that brought the inmates to their plight. The Window Cleaner by Coachford Players saw a chance meeting between a burglar and window cleaner and what each learned from the other. The Sound of Silence by Amphitheatre Company was a self-penned piece exploring the isolation of a disabled man trapped in a useless body. Finally, Jack Furey by Spike Players related a story of lost love and innocence set against the despair of encroaching dementia. Not an easy night’s theatre for the uninitiated, but certainly thought provoking and challenging.
Saturday night saw three plays in the Open section and the final Confined play of the festival. The First Punk in Oldcastle by Millrace Drama Group told of a father and son separated by more than years, who finally come to a semblance of peace. The only Confined play of the night was Fates Thread, described as “a ghost story… murder mystery and a light comedy”. Kilmeen Drama Group staged the very popular Shakespeare’s a Dick, an hilarious comedy about a redneck cursed with the gift of eloquence! Finally Schull Drama Group had another new piece of writing, Sally Smart’s Lies, in which she looked at the perils of online dating!
Returning this year as adjudicator, Brendan Murray was very complimentary of both the venue and organisation of the festival, not to mention the huge variety of drama on offer over the three nights. “Shakespeare’s a Dick” won Best Actor for Denis O’Sullivan as Ramie, Best Actress went to his co-star Colette Daly as Doris, the play also took the Audience Award. Geraldine Greene from Ennis Players won Best Director for “Burridan’s Ass”.
Most importantly, the placings for One Act Finals points were: Confined Section: 1st “Jack Furey” by Spike Players; 2nd “The Monkey’s Paw” by Seumas O’Kelly Players; 3rd “The Sound of Silence” by Amphitheatre Company. Open Section: 1st “Shakespeare’s a Dick” by Kilmeen Drama Group; 2nd “Burridan’s Ass” by Ennis Players; 3rd “The First Punk in Oldcastle” by Millrace Drama Group. Congratulations to all the groups and best of luck in the All Ireland Finals in Galway in December!