Following on the success of last year’s play Coughwater, Dooega drama group hse raised the bar once again. Martin Mangan’s production of the John B Keane classic, Many Young Men of Twenty is proof that this particular drama group is not a one hit wonder.
In the play, the scene is transposed from a 1950s Kerry backwater to McLoughlin’s bar at Achill Sound whose clientele consists of those arriving from or departing for England. Characters include Seelie, an unmarried sister who spends her time under her brother’s thumb, serving in his bar and witnessing all those who leave for England and those who return. The maid Peg cleans the bar and pines for a love she lost to emigration. ‘Danger’ Mulally spends his time trying to make a fast pound and an even faster pint from all the poor emigrants and those not wise to his antics. The stories of those characters are bound up in all the others who pass in and out of the pub.
There are songs and jokes aplenty. However by the end of the play one thing is clear. There is nothing left in this country anymore for young or old. The climax of the play comes in a valedictory statement from a most unexpected source. When ‘Danger’ Mulally realises that he too must leave this country, he excoriates the politicians, bankers, developers, and all those who have brought this country of ours to such a sorry state. The story may have taken place in the early sixties but ‘Danger’s’ words have an unusually contemporary theme.
Dooega drama group will perform their version of Many Young Men of Twenty in the Royal Theatre Castlebar on Friday February 10.