Next week local theatre group, Little Brother Productions will present an early play by one of Ireland’s finest playwrights, Frank McGuinness: The Factory Girls.
Directed by Aidan Ennis and his assistant, Meghan Stasinowsky, The Factory Girlsis an engaging drama sprinkled with light-hearted humour which delves into issues of a more serious matter. It’s a work which is as relevant in the Ireland of today as when it was first written in the early 80s.
The play centres around five women of various ages working in harsh conditions in a shirt factory in County Donegal. The women stage a sit-in at the factory, and the play tells the story of each individual character’s life, both inside and outside the factory.
Ellen is a brassy, bawdy character who mouths off to her superiors about the dignity of their work. Played by Patricia Gibney, she regards herself as the matriarch of the group. A Mullingar native with a long history of dramatic involvement, Patricia was a member of the Mullingar Theatre Group back in the 1980s.
Una is Ellen’s sidekick, often providing humourous moments throughout the production. Played by Teresa Doran, Una is a kind, warm-hearted older woman, who takes the naïve, young, and impressionable Rosemary (played by Anne-Marie Dunne ) under her wing.
Do not allow Anne-Marie Dunne’s youthful appearance to deceive you: this young woman has a portfolio which belies her 22 years. Moving to Mullingar four years ago, she has been performing since she was 15, in places as far afield as Kildare, Edinburgh, Perth, London and Hungary, where she played Amelia in The House of Bernarda Alba, by Lorca. Chosen along with nine other young actors, Anne-Marie also performed in front of President Mary McAleese, at Dublin Castle. Anne-Marie is currently studying for a BA in Performing Arts at the Institute of Technology, in Sligo.
Rebecca (played by Avril Whelehan ) and Vera (played by Clare O’Sullivan ) form an alliance and their characters progress towards major realisations during the play regarding their lives and how they are living them. Clare O’Sullivan plays the feisty Vera, a woman unafraid of authority.
The Factory Girls will leave audiences with several different perspectives on the issues raised within this fascinating and sometimes intense drama. As the play progresses, the women learn more about each other and themselves as they explore their anger, courage, and compassion.
The Factory Girls will be presented at the Mullingar Arts Centre from Tuesday May 15 to Thursday May 17, at 8pm. Tickets are priced at €12/€10 from the box office on (044 ) 9347777.