THEY’RE at it again – Ballyfin Community Theatre.
Not content with rave reviews for last year’s play The Inspector, a cast of 35 with more than 40 characters is busily rehearsing the group’s eighth annual play, which has once again been written and directed by local playwright Frances Harney.
The Enterprise will be performed in Mountmellick Arts Centre on Friday and Saturday 22-23 March at 7.30pm each evening, with tickets costing €10.
The play is set in midlands pub and the action spans a two-week period during Lent in 1994. Village publicans the Flanagans need to find a new enterprise when Bishop Murray prohibits the sale of alcohol on the premises for the entire 40 days of ‘the season of fast and abstinence’.
Among many colourful characters, the matriarchal Gertie has been compared with the eponymous lead in John B Keane’s Big Maggie.
However, Frances Harney is quick to point out that “Gertie is more foul-mouthed, more humorous and definitely more human than Maggie. While Maggie’s actions are controlled by her past suffering, Gertie has the ability to recognise her mistakes, to forgive and, most of all, to value her family”.
This year’s cast includes JP Cahilane, Liam O’Neill, Brendan McEvoy, Ken Molloy, Tom McGrath, Mary Gorman, Kevin O’Rourke, Thomas Dunne, Ann Marie Colgan, Zeta O’Reilly, Michael Conroy, Michelle Kirwan, Seán Connolly, Daniel Connolly, Fergal Dooley, Dick Quillinan, Emma Phelan, Larry Ryan, AC Reynolds, Angela Bowe, Colette Cashin, Carol Mooney Maher, Gemma Dunphy, Bernadette Clear, Jo Fitzpatrick Kelly, Aoife Harney, Tommy Dunne, Sheelagh Coyle, Mary Cashin, John Fingleton, Joe Fingleton, Eamon Duff, Paul Gilligan, Triona O’Rourke, Enda Gilligan and members of The Rising Sons.
Although Frances is the driving force behind this community theatre venture, she is very quick to acknowledge the huge commitment from her cast and crew and the generous support of capacity audiences who have crowded into the Mountmellick Arts Centre to enjoy her productions over the years.
She promises an evening of fun and laughter from seasoned actors, many of whom have been with her from the beginning, and new recruits.
The backstage crew of Michael Burke, Ann Tilson, Ron Lawlor, Shane Harney and Jenny Hilton will be supported by members of Ballyfin Athletic Club and Ballyfin Ladies GAA Club, which will co-host The Enterprise.
All funds raised from this year’s production will go directly to the local athletic and ladies GAA clubs, while proceeds from the raffle will be presented to the Cuisle Cancer Centre.
Tickets can be obtained from representatives of either club and from The Deadman’s Inn, Ballyfin, Telford’s Mountrath, Ó’hÓráin’s and Watchorne’s/Londis, Mountmellick, Feighery’s Butchers and Cuisle Fayre charity shop in Portlaoise.
The production has once again received generous support from Ballyfin House Hotel and Laois County Council.