FOUR COMPANIES, two shows; one rewires a theatrical two-hander for a cast of 35, the other blends dance, drama, and music in a tale about fallen angels and warring families, set in St Nicholas’s Collegiate Church.
These are the heady mixture of elements in two home-grown Galway Arts Festival shows; Last Shot Redemption, a collaboration between Catastrophe Theatre and Chrysalis Dance, and Frank Pig Says Hello, co-produced by Galway Youth Theatre and Galway Arts Centre Community Drama.
Last Shot Redemption
Last Shot Redemption was initially conceived as a sequel to Love and Other Disguises which Catastrophe and Chrysalis presented at the 2007 festival. Like the earlier show it is written by Colm Maher, directed by Paul Hayes, choreographed by Judith Sibley, and features the music of Mundy.
Where the first play revolved around a wedding, much of the action in Last Shot Redemption centres on a christening. Director Paul Hayes takes up the story; “It’s like the first show, it’s quirky and comic, with dance-numbers throughout. This one’s a comedy of epic proportions in that Duncan LeCroix plays a fallen angel, Gadriel.
“He’s trying to get his wings back, so he’s this kind of pucklike creature who tries to do good but has an unfortunate tendency to make things go wrong. He’s very much the protagonist of the tale and he’s trying to figure out what he has to do at this christening in order to win his wings back.
“The plot features two warring families, parents of the husband and wife. The christening has been a massive bone of contention between them because one family is Roman Catholic and the other Protestant and neither wants to see the child christened in the faith of the other.
“St Nicholas’s Church is a big character in the play and all it symbolises. So Gadriel has to somehow get all these humans to resolve their differences at the christening, with hilarious results.”
As well as Duncan LeCroix, the cast features Aisling Doyle, James Hosty, Stephanie du Fresne, and Aoife Moore. Last Shot Redemption promises to be every bit as imaginative and entertaining as its 2007 ‘prequel’. It runs at St Nicholas’ from Monday July 16 to Saturday 22 at 6pm nightly, and there are 2pm matinee performances on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There is no performance on Thursday 19.
Frank Pig Says Hello
Frank Pig Says Hello is Patrick McCabe’s own stage adaptation of his classic novel, The Butcher Boy. It was first performed by Dublin, in 1992, by Co-Motion Theatre Company but this new Galway Arts Festival staging, which is directed by Andrew Flynn, is a very different kettle of fish.
The Co-Motion staging featured only two actors, whereas Flynn’s production has a cast of 35 He outlines how he went about recalibrating the material;
“We’ve taken the original script and, with Pat McCabe’s blessing, have developed it somewhat. We’ve fleshed it out using more material from the novel. So for example in the play there is a party scene at Uncle Al’s which is only a page long because they were doing it with two actors but in our production we’ve been able to make that a much bigger scene with maybe 25 people in it.”
Twenty members of the Frank Pig cast come from Galway Youth Theatre with the remainder coming from the recently established Galway Arts Centre Community Drama, which features older performers. I ask Flynn whether he feels it is beneficial for the GYT members to be able to work with older actors.
“Definitely,” he replies. “It’s fantastic for them; there’s a different energy in the room when you have that range of people. The youngest person in this show is 15 and the oldest is nearly 70. And the older actors are bringing a huge experience with them so as well as everything else it’s a great learning project for those from GYT. It’s something I think we’ll be doing more of in the future.”
Among the large cast of Frank Pig is Jarlath Tivnan as Piglet (as the young Francie Brady is referred to ), Oisin Robbins, Kate Murray, Patricia Bohan (as Francie’s nemesis, Mrs Nugent ), Mike King, John McHugh, and Mary McHugh.
It has all the makings of an epic and memorable evening of theatre and it runs at Nuns Island theatre right throughout the festival, at 8pm nightly, with 3pm matinees each Saturday.