Anticipation has reached fever pitch as the cast and crew of Athlone Little Theatre’s production of Two by Jim Cartwright ready themselves for the national One Act Drama Finals in Ennis this Sunday afternoon, December 4. This is the Little Theatre’s very first appearance in the All-Ireland One Act Finals, and how fitting it is that this historic event occurs at the end of the theatre’s 75th anniversary year.
The best wishes and hopes of everyone connected with Athlone Little Theatre are with director Oliver Hegarty, actors John McGlynn and Anne Hoey, Bernadette Naughton and the backstage crew of movers and shakers. Two has been drawn to appear second in the afternoon session on Sunday December 4 at the Glor Theatre in Ennis. The Little Theatre’s entry appears near the end of a hectic weekend of drama in what is – to borrow a football expression – very much the business end of the season.
The action, or at least the portion of it that concerns Athlone, gets under way from 2pm on Sunday.
With a hat full of festival wins and best acting gongs from festivals all over the country, hopes are high that Two can score very highly in Ennis, and who knows, maybe even bring a much coveted All-Ireland title back to Athlone, the spiritual home of the amateur drama movement. How amazing it would be if the town which annually hosts the All-Ireland Drama Festival for full-length plays was also the home of the All-Ireland One Act champions.
But regardless of how they achieve in Ennis, Ollie, Anne, John, and co have already done themselves and Athlone proud in fearlessly bringing the most demanding of shows to the most competitive of environments. Everywhere they go, the show has been praised for its realism, the searing truth of its acting, and the sheer slickness of its production.
Jim Cartwright’s uncompromising play tells the story of a night in the life of a north of England pub. John and Anne play the landlord and landlady – simmering in a hot bed of marital discontent – and also their clients, from a vicious wife beater to a hilariously lecherous old lady, from a little boy lost to the quiet, sad carer of a dying man, sipping at her nightly medication. All human life is here, and over the course of a frenetic hour, John and Anne play a staggering 14 parts between them. It is theatre at its most awe inspiring, a fearless, unforgiving yet robustly compassionate mirror held up to life.
The show has received glowing comments from festival adjudicators, one of whom is reputed to have said that he didn’t have a single criticism to make, so perfect was the story he saw unfolded before him.
This has been a remarkable voyage for Athlone Little Theatre, and it is hoped that many more will follow. For now, everybody’s eyes are on the Glor Theatre in Ennis, and what will certainly be an occasion talked about for many years to come. Needless to say, the guys would appreciate as much travelling support as they can possibly get.
Bookings for Sunday’s dramatic finale can be had by calling the Glor Theatre on (065 ) 6843103 or from www.glor.ie
Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, the cast and crew of Two can be assured of a heartfelt welcome home and the mother of all celebration parties. We’re proud of you guys!