Backstage Theatre is a hive of activity this week as the cast and crew from Livin’ Dred put the finishing touches to their production of 'Bailegangaire' ahead of its opening this Friday and Saturday.
Directed by Padraic McIntyre, this utterly powerful play by Tom Murphy will then embark on a nationwide tour.
Speaking of his love affair with Tom Murphy’s writing, director Padraic McIntyre (possibly best known for 'The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down') recalls buying a collection of his plays on holidays in Mayo at the tender age of 11;
“It nearly cost me all my holiday money but I didn’t care,” he said. “I read 'A Whistle in the Dark' over and over again.
“I cannot say I understood it completely. I know I didn’t, but I knew it was brilliant. It was the best thing I ever had read in my life.
“Around this time 'Bailegangaire' was getting its first production by Druid, which I never got to see. I hadn’t even read it; but I knew I loved it anyway. I loved the title. I loved the word, Bailegangaire. I loved the sound of it. I loved how it lookedwritten down. I loved what it meant; “The Town without Laughter”. When eventually I did read it, I wasn’t disappointed. Now 'Bailegangaire', replaced 'Whistle' as the best thing I ever read. Again I didn’t understand it all but I knew something truly amazing was going on.”
Now, McIntyre has gotten the opportunity to direct what he describes as “the play I have been obsessed with for years.”
A play about, family, place, home, dependence, love, hate, grief and many other things, 'Bailegangaire' is set in 1984, which McIntyre pointed out, was “a watermark year in the social conscience of our little country”.
“Murphy, through his genius captures perfectly the temperature of an entire nation at this time, in this play set in a cottage kitchen in Mayo,” the director continued. “Murphy knows and achieves in this symphony, that in order to decipher our identity whether that is national, local or personal we have to come to grips with our own story or history.”
Catch 'Bailegangaire' as it opens its national tour in Backstage Theatre Longford this Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10 at 8pm. Tickets are available on 043 33 47888, from Farrell & Coy in Longford town and online on www.backstage.ie