Audrey Ní Fheargail , Maelíosa Stafford and Des Braiden starring in On the Way Out.
On the Way Out
Doonbeg Community Hall
September 12th, 2002.
On The Way Out was the original title for Vincent Woods first play John Hughdy/Tom John produced by Druid Theatre Company as a lunchtime show during the Galway Arts Festival of 1991. Skehana will revisit this work and produce it in its full-length format, embarking on a nationwide tour of Ireland in September 2002.
The cast of the play are Maelíosa Stafford, Des Braiden, and Audrey Ní Fheargail. The design consultant is Monica Frawley and lighting consultant Eamon Fox.
On The Way Out is set in Leitrim and tells a family story in a style marked by irreverent humour, vivid characterization and a remarkable, colourful use of a local language and storytelling tradition. Acclaimed at the time as a striking and original piece of theatre, the play explores issues of loss and belonging, kinship and memory and confronts the audience with a landscape on the edge of extinction, a people on the way out. Beckett meets George Fitzmaurice and they tell their story in a small townland soon to be forest.
Though told as two separate narratives the story of father and son this is really one play in two short acts. The style of telling has all the hallmarks of Woods later acclaimed work in At The Black Pigs Dyke and Song of the Yellow Bittern. Significantly, few people have seen his first play, though it is an important part of the canon of modern Irish theatre and provides an important insight into the work of this leading dramatist.
An important element of this project (and in keeping with the Skehana ethos of close collaboration between the writer and the actor) is, that it will reunite the creative talents of Vincent Woods and Maelíosa Stafford. The two - whose work together was pivotal to the Druid successes of the early and mid nineties - will return to the text which brought them together in the first instance. On this occasion, Maelíosa will play the part of Tom John also working closely with the author on a fresh directorial approach to the play. A link to the original production will be the presence of actor Des Braiden whose portrayal of John Hughdy was generally acknowledged as one of his masterpieces of interpretation.
A decade on from the first Druid production, Vincent Woods plans to re-examine these plays within the space afforded by Skehana - a space which seeks to find the essence of theatre. In particular, he will draw on the central and haunting role of the female story teller to cast light on the wider canvas of the world painted by the father and son. On The Way Out - is a play of raw and simple power which confronts an audience with the shock of death and the demise of a way of living; it is storytelling at its most simple and complex and deserves the wider audience it would draw from this production.
In touring On The Way Out, Skehana is furthering its policy of taking challenging and innovative theatre to audiences throughout Ireland, often to venues overlooked or neglected by larger companies. Such places are very much the terrain of this play (or plays) - a landscape, a culture, a people fading into almost-forgotten statistics. Skehana, in conjuction with Clare County Arts Office, toured to Doolin last year with its production of The Gallant John Joe by Tom McIntrye which was shortlisted in two categories for the Irish Times, ESB Irish Theatre Awards 2001 under;
* Judges Special
Award for its innovative tour of The Gallant John-Joe
* Best New Play written by Tom Mc Intyre and produced by Skehana
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