Compántas Lir held their millennium Supper Theatre in Carnmore Community Centre on 17th, 18th and 19th October 2000. It was a resounding success, the choice of plays being inspired, aptly using the considerable talents of this company and giving everyone present a night to remember.
The format is ingenious—a play, a meal at the interval (with wine), and another play. It was a night you wouldn’t want to end. It must have entailed a staggering amount of work on behalf of the whole company and the volunteer helpers on the night. To cater for a hall full of people, ensuring each one of them gets a main meal, a glass of wine (with refill), and a dessert, with tea, is a mammoth task in itself. To do it with speed and good humour, in between staging two plays, reveals an organisation which deserves the highest praise.
To the plays themselves. They were both well chosen, and superbly directed Cough Water was set in a rural dispensary in Ireland of the 50’s and starred Paddy Greaney, Patsy Cahalan, Brid Conneely, Michael Fleming, Kevin Duffy, Evelyn Casserly, Mary Duggan, Simon Kavanagh, Deirdre Conneely and Ann Greaney. It was directed by Maura Kavanagh. The comic potential of the setting was superbly exploited, as clients entered the doctor’s waiting room with different ailments and life stories. The dispensary assistant—mixing cough bottles, dosing patients and generally running the whole show, was wonderfully acted by Paddy Greaney. The warring couple of Tom and Nora Connors were played to hilarious effect by Evelyn Casserly and Kevin Duffy. The whole cast deserve admiration for the level of their acting skill. It was a thoroughly enjoyable laugh, and sent everyone into their meal in great good humour.
After the interval, when we were well fed, we sat back to feast on another wonder. Curses, Foiled Again, a gem of a play brought alive by the comic talents of the actors. It featured Malachy Noone, Patricia Carton, Carmel Kenny, Adrian Moran, Mary Booth and Ursula Cribbin, and was directed by Lilyann Hannon.
A play within a play, it was set in the rehearsals for a Victorian melodrama. It is the split second timing required when doing a play which switches from one format to another, which gave this play its hilarity. It would be hard to isolate one aspect more enjoyable than another, but Malachy Noone was outstanding, his comic gifts brought fully into play by his portrayal of Jasper. His timing didn’t miss a beat, and the performance of the whole cast had the same professionalism. Wonderfully enjoyable.
To stage two plays in succession requires the same set being used, and full marks to the set design team of Regis Golding and John Brennan for coming up with one which could be adapted to two such different settings, by adding or taking away props. A special acknowledgement must go to the youngest member of the group, Christopher Carton, for his great work backstage. Applause also to the set construction team of John Whelan, Tony Broderick, J.J. Conneely and Seamus McNulty. On lighting and sound were Frankie Moran and Tom Maguire, while Anne Moran and Sheila Mannion were in charge of the make up. Stage manager was Mary Duggan.
On this night alone, this company richly deserve their reputation as one of the top drama companies in the country. To those of you who weren’t there, you missed a great night of crack and an opportunity to enjoy these fine actors in their home setting. Looking forward to next year already.
Congratulations to everyone involved, and to the officers of this fine company Seamus McNulty (Chairman), Carmel Kenny (Secretary), Bernadette Prendergast (Treasurer), Declan Varley (PRO).