“McIntyre finely captures the essence of this classic” Sunday Times
It’s four years since Druid Theatre Company presented their stunning DruidMurphy project in Letterkenny – featuring Tom Murphy’s plays A Whistle in The Dark and Conversations on a Homecoming – which left local theatre fans in no doubt of Murphy;s status as one of Ireland’s greatest writers.
Now there is an opportunity to see the play that many consider his masterpiece – Bailegangaire. Presented by Livin’ Dred Theatre in association with Nomad Theatre Network, the play centres around Mommo, who tells over and over again a story she never finishes of how the town came to be known as Bailegangaire, the town without laughter.
Mommo is attended by her two granddaughters, Mary and Dolly. The younger women yearn to be free of the past in order to make a new beginning, and Mary comes to believe that to do so the story of Bailegangaire has to be concluded.
Director Paraic McIntyre, who has had a long professional friendship with Tom Murphy says of it: “the play I have been obsessed with for years. A play set in 1984, not by chance, but because 1984 is a watermark year in the social conscience of our little country. It’s the year of Ann Lovett in Granard, the Kerry Babies, the year after the toxic abortion referendum. Murphy through his genius captures perfectly the temperature of an entire nation at this time, in this play set in a cottage kitchen in Mayo. Murphy knows and achieves in this symphony, that in order to decipher our identity whether that is national, local or personal we have to come to grips with our own story or history. A story that is more often than not intertwined with family and a place called ‘home’. We have sometimes to deal with our historic trauma in order to become familiar with the here and now. That is all Mary, Mommo and Dolly is trying to do.”
Patricia McBride, An Grianán Theatre’s Director is the current chair of the Nomad Network which was set up in January 2006 to further the development of the performing arts and extend the parameters of regional, national and international performances available to venues and their audiences. The partnership network set out to encourage more theatre companies both national and international to tour to the regions, to produce high quality theatre and ultimately to enrich and strengthen performing arts practice in the regions and shape the future development of touring.