Backstage Theatre Group (BTG) officially launch their latest full-length production ‘Unforgiven’ tonight, Wednesday 23rd February, at 9pm in Black Olive Restaurant, Ballymahon Street. Guest of honour at the launch will be the play’s author, John McDwyer.
The Leader spoke to the director, Ollie Kenny about the play, and what attracted him to ‘Unforgiven’ in the first place.
“Well, it’s a fantastic script,” said Ollie, “and the more we work on it, the more layers we are finding to the plot. I really admire John McDwyer as a writer, and I think this is a truly great modern Irish play.
“All four characters are strong, with their own dynamic; they all have their own back-story, their own personality and flaws, and I believe that the character of “Wan word” (Seamie) has to one of the best literary creations of recent years.”
Kenny also directed ‘Lovely Leitrim’ by the same author three years ago. Are there any similarities between the works?
“Both plays share a very high quality of the writing, and depth of character, but I think ‘Unforgiven’ is more of a personal, character-driven play.
“While ‘Lovely Leitrim’ dealt with broader issues like emigration, this play is more about people, and what goes on in their heads; dreams, plans, secrets, grudges, unspoken feelings.
“McDwyer’s writing falls in a place between John B Keane and Martin McDonagh. He takes settings, characters and situations that would not be out of place in Keane’s work, but brings the writing up to date with brilliant dialogue and some savage comedy, that is reminiscent of McDonagh,” said Ollie.
And so, to this production. What can the audience expect?
“We have a fantastic cast,” explains Kenny. “Declan Neville plays ‘PJ’, the eldest brother; Peter Kilemade is ‘Seamie’ or ‘Wan Word’ as he is known to all.
“Christine O’Brien plays ‘Mary’, the neighbour, who PJ ‘has his eye on.’ Gerard Rafferty plays ‘Eamonn’, the other brother, now living in California, who comes home for the funeral of the father of the three male characters.
“Like in many of the great Irish plays, the non appearing character of the father is always very present on the stage.
“The cast has been a pleasure to work with, and I know they will give amazing performances. I can’t praise them highly enough. ‘Unforgiven’ is a modern classic, which will captivate audiences from the opening scene, with some really tender moments, mixed in with some of McDwyer’s most hilarious black-comedy. It really is a show not to be missed!”
‘Unforgiven’ runs in Backstage Theatre from Wed 9th – Sat 12th March 2011. Tickets priced at €15 and €12.50 are available from the theatre box office on (043) 33 47888; online at www.backstage.ie and from Farrell/Coy.