Western Drama Festival, March 2023

Synopsis of Plays

Friday 3rd March. Lifford Players, Co. Donegal.
"When Elephants Collide" by Edward Flanagan

A tale of inheritance. A family in crisis.  A father who doesn’t know which child to trust with his legacy. This fast-paced play is interwoven with sibling rivalry, jealousy and greed set in a 21st century Ireland still anchored in 19th century traditions.

Saturday 4th March. Salmon Eile, Co. Kildare
"The Pitchfork Disney" by Philip Ridley

Presley and Haley, two siblings, live in a squalid flat in a ruined world. Their parents seem to have died years ago, and now they while away a schizophrenic existence by feeding off chocolate and ‘Mum and Dad’s medicine.’ One day however, an interloper appears, and things start to go very wrong. This play is of the ‘in your face theatre’ genre and contains adult themes.

Sunday 5th March. Glenamaddy Players, Co. Galway
"Proof" by David Auburn

On the eve of her 25th birthday, Catherine, a young woman who has spent many years caring for her brilliant but unstable father Robert, must deal not only with his death, but with the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire and with the attentions of Hal. Hal is a former student of her fathers who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that Robert left behind. “Proof” is a play about scientists, whose science matters less than their humanity. Whether loving, hating, encouraging or impeding one another, the four characters in “Proof” are intensely alive, complete and human.   Proof won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.

Monday 6th March. The Ray Leonard Players, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
"Kings of the Kilburn Highroad" by Jimmy Murphy

In the mid 1970s, a group of young men left their homes in the West of Ireland, took the boat out of Dublin Bay and sailed across the sea to England in the hope of making their fortunes and returning home. Twenty-five years later, only one, Jackie Flavin, makes it home - but does so in a coffin. The play takes place on the day that the winners and losers of the group meet up to drink to Flavin's memory, and looks at their lives, lost dreams and their place in the new Ireland.

Tuesday 7th March. Ballyshannon Drama Society, Co. Donegal.
"A Delicate Balance" by Edward Albee

The uneasy existence of upper-middle-class suburbanites Agnes and Tobias and their permanent houseguest Claire (Agnes' witty and alcoholic sister), is disrupted by the sudden appearance of lifelong family friends Harry and Edna, fellow empty nesters with free-floating anxiety, who ask to stay with them to escape an unnamed terror. They are soon followed by Agnes and Tobias' bitter 36-year-old daughter Julia, who returns home following the collapse of her fourth marriage.

Wednesday 8th March. St. Patrick's Drama Group, Westport, Co. Mayo.
"Dear Frankie" by Niamh Gleeson

For over twenty years, Ireland tuned in as Frankie Byrne solved the problems of a nation at lunchtime on Radio Eireann. Lovelorn teenagers, jealous husbands, concerned mammies, all write in looking for an answer to their problems. This by turns, hilarious and poignant play, tracks the life of this glamorous and popular Irish figure as she considers the burning social issues of the time – all the while, concealing deep sorrows in her own life.

Thursday 9th March. Butt Drama Circle, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal.
"Darkness Echoing" by Shaun Byrne

Joe returns home to Donegal from London under a cloud to find his father seriously ill and is forced to deal with issues concerning his own young son's passing some years earlier, helped by Marie his father’s home-helpIt deals with loss, addiction, illness- serious issues but like An Incident with Dave Cotter last year humour appears in unexpected places. 

Friday 10th March. Clontarf Drama Group, Co. Dublin.
"The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest is the most renowned of Oscar Wilde’s comedies. It’s the story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives. They attempt to win the hearts of two women who, conveniently, claim to only love men called Ernest. The pair struggle to keep up with their own stories and become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure. The elaborate plot ridicules Victorian sensibilities with some of the best loved, and indeed bizarre characters to be found on the modern stage.

Saturday 11th March. Wexford Drama Group, Co. Wexford.
"The Father" by Florian Zeller (translation by Christopher Hampton)

Andre is a charming retired engineer living in his London flat with his daughter Anne and his son in law Pierre. Having fired his carer for robbing his watch he finds himself put on from all sides. Anne wants him to take another carer, Pierre wants him to go to a home, his new carer Laura seems to be impersonating his younger lost daughter and an unfamiliar man and woman suddenly invade his life. As Zeller weaves his story through an ever more erratic sense of time, we share Andre's sense of confusion and dismay. Why can't they all just leave him alone, he's in full control of his mental faculties. Isn’t he? Full of dark humour and sparkling humanity, Zeller has described his play as a 'comedy thriller'. This English adaption is by Christopher Hampton (Les Liasons Dangereuse). The critically acclaimed play had monster runs of both the West End & Broadway, winning Olivier and Tony awards for best actor for their individual leads. It was also a blockbuster movie starring Olivia Colman as Ann and Anthony Hopkins in his Oscar winning role.