Duo of one-act dramas up next at Athlone Little Theatre

Dermot McManus and Karen McCarthy in rehearsal for Athlone Little Theatre's next production, Happy Hour

Dermot McManus and Karen McCarthy in rehearsal for Athlone Little Theatre's next production, Happy Hour

There's a dramatic contrast of styles up next at Athlone Little Theatre, with the staging of two modern one-act plays from Saturday October 24 to Friday October 30. 

In A Land Much Like Ours written by Manchester-based playwright Rob Johnston, will be Athlone Little Theatre's entry to the All Ireland Drama Festival One Act competition. Rob, who won the coveted 2011 Kings Cross Award for New Writing, has written numerous plays and adapted novels and other works for the stage.  According to Rob: "It was a play that took a long time to come together, around two years from initial idea to its first opening night in 2013, and was very satisfying for me as a writer because I was using a dramatic style and voice that I'd not used before."

This play invites us into two, seemingly very different, worlds. Jane and David’s world is set in a land much like ours, until they find themselves facing a monstrous life event. Can they save their relationship and/or themselves? In the other, magical world, Jack, a kind, innocent little boy, faces up to his moment of truth; he is willing to sacrifice everything to slay an evil giant. Can Jack save his village from impending ruination and perhaps, himself? Be careful what you wish for Jack! You might just get it! 

Jane and David are played by two of Athlone Little Theatre's leading actors, Anne Hoey and John McGlynn, and they are joined by Charles Doherty as Richard. The play is directed by the deft hand of  Oliver Hegarty, with stage management by Elaine Quinn.

Neil LaBute's Happy Hour is expertly directed by  the experienced Paddy Martin, and features two actors well able to hold the audience's attention. Karen McCarthy and Dermot McManus play Ted and Cleo, two strangers who meet in a New York disco bar. This is a commonplace event that happens every night, in every bar all over the world, but the entertaining results of this meeting turn out to be more delicate and complex. 

Lovers of safe and undemanding theatre tend to blanch when confronted with a Neil LaBute play. He often looks at subjects that many don’t really want to talk about and shows the way that people really talk amongst themselves. 

He has written over 20 plays and while in his early years of writing he pushed the envelope out on what was acceptable, his latter day plays have a somewhat lighter touch (his play Lovely Head was performed in Athlone Little Theatre during the Drama Festival Fringe two years ago ).

Technical manager for both plays is Anthony Quinn, with the versatile Martina Breen on lighting and sound.

In A Land Much Like Ours and Happy Hour  will run nightly at 8pm from October 24-30 at Athlone Little Theatre, St Mary's Place, Athlone. For online bookings see www.athlonelittletheatre.ie  or phone (090 ) 6474324.

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