TWO YEARS after it was first staged at the Town Hall Theatre, Tales of Galway returns for one night only, in revamped and enhanced form.
Tales of Galway is a devised play arising from a series of reminiscing workshops involving a wide variety of older Galway residents. Workshop participants were encouraged to delve into their past and explore their youthful experience of growing up in Galway. The result is a uniquely Galwegian theatrical event.
The workshops that laid the foundation for the play were run by Sinead Hackett who also shaped the resultant stories into the final stage script and directs the play.
“It started off with the workshops I ran where we gathered a whole range of memories and stories about Galway life and the progression and changes the city has undergone from the 1950s up to the present,” Hackett explains.
“Once we had gathered the stories I worked on pulling them together into a script that would work onstage. I’ve come up with a central storyline of these two girls from Bohermore, Margaret and Mary, who have a close friendship that endures from the 1950s onwards.
“Margaret ends up having to go to England because of an unwanted pregnancy while Mary remains in Galway. Margaret has her baby out of wedlock and Mary stays in contact with her through letters. Her mother also writes regularly to her, but her father is unaware of the pregnancy and the baby. Around that fictional story we bring in all the actual historical tales and memories of Galway life that people told us.”
The play evokes things like the early years of the Mervue estate, which started being built in the 1950, games that were popular with children, or the financial hardship that saw housewives pawning their husband’s suits and reclaiming them in time for Sunday Mass – only to pawn them again on the Monday.
The show also draws on the many recollections of the dances in Seapoint with the males and females lined up on different sides of the ballroom as they waited to choose their dance partners. In this latter regard the production greatly benefits from the participation of the Galway Dance Academy which has come on board for this new staging.
The story has also been developed further this time, as Hackett reveals.
“We’ve added new material and bring the story up to the 1990s. In the nineties we had all the ‘crusties’ coming over and we talk about the nightclubs in Salthill, and include social commentary about life in Galway at the time. There are also new characters and we include the story of Margaret’s daughter, Maria. She comes back to Galway in the early nineties and then she has a baby here herself so it’s all about how life comes full circle.”
The production features a cast of 25 with Katie Coughlan (younger Margaret ) and Eimir Creedon (older Margaret ), Tara Finn (younger Mary ), and Mary McHugh (older Mary ), Aoife Heery (Maria ), and Joan Gildea and PJ Moore (Margaret’s parents ).
The show is being staged in memory of Mike Diskin who initiated the project.
Tales of Galway is at the Town Hall on Saturday June 1 at 8pm.
Tickets are €8/6 and available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777