Claregalway Festival of Drama 2017

The Plays

The Odd Couple by Neil Simon

If the slovenly condition of Oscar Madison’s apartment is anything to go by, it is no wonder that his wife has divorced him. When his fastidious friend Felix Ungar arrives with nowhere to go, having just separated and trying to hold himself together, Oscar offers to help by inviting him to move in. With their new living arrangement, Oscar and Felix’s idiosyncrasies come to the fore and relationships are tested to breaking point.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl

Jean (approaching 40, an employee at the Holocaust museum) is innocently sitting at a café when a cell phone rings. And rings. And keeps on ringing. The man doesn’t answer, because he’s dead. Jean, however, does pick it up, and when she discovers that the cell phone owner has quietly died in the café, she not only dials 911, she keeps his phone in order to keep him alive in a strange, yet significant way. She takes messages from the dead man’s business associates, friends, family members, even his mistress. Whimsical, wistful and absurd, Dead Man’s Cell Phone brings us on a fantasy that is both funny and thought provoking.

The Night Alive by Conor McPherson

Tommy’s not a bad man, he’s getting by, rolling from one get – rich – quick scheme to another with his pal Doc until the arrival of Aimee into his life, who is struggling through life also…..”You only get a few goes. At life!"

By The Bog of Cats by Marina Carr

Loosely based on Euripide’s tragedy - Medea. Carr’s lyrical and timeless play tells the prophetic tale of Hester Swane, an Irish traveller, who struggles to come to terms with a lifetime of abandonment. This is the story of one woman’s courageous attempts to lay claim to what is hers: her caravan, her house and her daughter. On the brink of despair, she embarks on a journey of vengeance as the secrets of her tangles history are revealed.

Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh

Set on Inishmaan in 1934, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a strange comic tale in the great tradition of Irish storytelling. As word arrives on Inishmaan that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighbouring island of Inishmore to film Man of Aran, the one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life.

The Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault

This Irish melodrama is based on the tragic story of Ellen Hanley whose murdered body was washed ashore at Moneypoint in Co. Clare and buried nearby in Burrane cemetery. Boucicault’s play has a much happier ending and in the 1860’s The Colleen Bawn was an immediate success in London where it had the longest run in the history of the English stage – its 230 performances making it The Mousetrap of its day!

The Third Policeman by Flann O Brien

Is it about a bicycle? Is it about Heaven? Is it about Hell? Is it about God? Is it about life? Is it about death? In Flann O Brien’s hilarious, curious play we meet dead men walking, however this will not be the strangest encounter you will have over the course of the evening. In this play you will hear of people who can see the colour of the wind, see bicycles that are half people and among other things, watch an elevator descend to Eternity. So with an open mind and an attuned ear suspend your disbelief and enjoy!

The Birds by Conor McPherson

A suspenseful, atmospheric adaption of Daphne du Maurier’s enthralling short story. Mysterious masses of birds have begun to violently attack at high tide, driving strangers Nat and Diane to take refuge in an isolated, abandoned house by the sea and form a bond to survive their haunting new circumstance. With no electricity and scarce food, the tension is palpable and hope is waning. Yet if two is company, three is a crowd, as the sudden arrival of a young woman with a mysterious nature of her own ruffles feathers in the house and quickly threatens to destroy their so called sanctuary.

Philadelphia Here I Come by Brian Friel

Philadelphia Here I Come is a 1964 play written by Brian Friel. It is set in the fictional town of Ballybeg. It centres around Garet (Gar) O’Donnell’s proposed move to America. Gar is portrayed by two characters, Gar Public ( the Gar that people see, talk to and talk about) and Gar Private (the unseen man, the man within, the conscience).  Its’ essentially about exile, the exile of emigration, the exile of emotional disconnect, the exile of choosing security over love and the exile of living fantasy rather than reality. 
The play is a tragicomedy with many comical scenes.

Festival Adjudicator 2017: Ms Paula Dempsey ADA

Paula DempseyPaula is a professional actor and director. She has worked on programmes including The Accrington Pals and The Wild Poppy Blowing for RTE Radio produced ny John Mac Kenna. Plays include Who by Fire and The Woman at the Window with Mend and Makedo Theatre Company. Married to the Sea for Dragonfly Theatre Company and she has directed Christopher Durangs Beyond Therapy for Orions Belt Theatre Company. She has won awards for directing The Beauty Queen of Lenane and for directing a one act called George. She has directed Big Maggie  among others. Paula was director of Laois Youth Theatre and as such worked with members and writers devising original theatre productions. These include Laois - A Sound History by Pat Boran and On Track by Ursula De Brun. 

Paula has also worked as an actor trainer and facilitator for theatre training companies such as Shift Theatre and ToBe theatre training. Paula has been adjudicating for over 7 years and is a member of the Association of Drama Adjudicators. She is a founder member of The Michael Chekov Studio Dublin and holds an honours BA and MA in Modern Drama Studies.