On this Armistice Day, I’m re-posting my KCLR 96fm BAI-funded play CAKE. This 45-minute play, set in Waterford 1915-1920, focuses on a local family challenged by opposing allegiances: Lance Corporal Joseph Bohan-O’Shea is fighting at the Somme whilst his Northern Protestant wife May raises their four children down south in Waterford City. However, Joseph’s staunchly Nationalist mother is angry with her son for taking the ‘Saxon shilling’ and betraying the family by joining the British Army. Her gender barring her from taking up arms herself, Mother persuades Joseph’s poet twin, Michael, to fight for Irish freedom, but Michael’s true passion is his unrequited love for his sister-in-law, May…. This story is a fictionalisation of my great-grandparents’ own story.
CAKE is directed by Jim Nolan, and stars Michael Power (winner of the Portsmouth International Film Festival’s 2014 Best Actor Award), Madeleine Brolly and Jenni Ledwell. CAKE also features a special recording of Waterford anthem In Happy Moments by William Vincent Wallace, performed here by Matthew Sprange, fresh from his Olivier Award winning performance in English Touring Opera’s Paul Bunyon.
Set in Brennan’s Bar, a peculiar pub on Waterford’s O’Connell street, Strongbow’s Clock is a comic ghost story concerning a pair of barflies, an immigrant Hungarian barman and the events that ensue when the pub’s clock stops working and a mysterious young woman is swept in the pub door.
Nick and Angela have met at the same time in Brennan’s Bar every evening, for years. They are served by Gabor, a Hungarian who has become ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’, and who is a keen, if confused orator of Irish history. On this particular evening however, the antics of a Hallowe’en circus in town delays both Nick and Angela’s arrival and interrupts Gabor’s daily ceremony of winding the grandfather clock. The regular flow of events is thus unsettled, jovial banter turns nasty and the exposure of a dark secret looms. Then, the evening takes a further surreal turn with the arrival of a dazed young woman from Ferrybank…
Strongbow’s Clock is a comic ghost story. It is also a study of the consequences when unrequited love is toyed with carelessly, and the violence such passions can stir.
Strongbow’s Clock is directed by acclaimed playwright Jim Nolan and stars leading Irish talent Michael Power, Jenni Ledwell, Ema Lemon and Nick Kavanagh. Strongbow’s Clock was my fourth radio drama and followed Cow, The Daffodil and Cake, also directed by Jim Nolan. My radio work since includes: The Angel of Trafadden, Shellakybooky, The Cat in the Box and Mussels.
Strongbow’s Clockwas made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the television license fee.
It’s spring, new beginnings, daffodils. In honour of the season that’s in it, I’m reposting a podcast of my 2013 radio drama ‘The Daffodil’.
Set on the fictional Irish island of Trafadden, The Daffodil tells the tale of the relationship between Eurovision wannabe ‘Liam Egan’ and Eurovision hasbeen ‘Banba’, both mired in denial for different reasons.
Starring Jenni Ledwell and Michael Power and directed by Jim Nolan.
Budapest, Hungary, 2015. Nursing a broken heart, Mar Walsh travels from Waterford to Hungary to stay with her sister Brigette Walsh Cooney and family. Mar is impressed by her sister’s seemingly idyllic expat existence. Brigette simply ‘does not do negativity’ and her days are full of champagne and yoga. All is not how it seems, however, and cracks are soon evident in the Cooney’s perfect veneer. A mistress, a graffiti-obsessed son, an anarchist and a gay minister focused on change, all combine to shake the Cooney’s world and expose its fragility as the country’s political problems arrive on their doorstep in the form of a revolution.
Broadcasting on Monday, October 26th, 6pm-7pm (Irish time) on WLRfm.com
Siobhan, a 38 year old Dublin teacher disenchanted with her dull existence in Portmarnock Primary School opts to chase Internet fame as a vlogger. In this pursuit, she travels to Trafadden Island, Co. Waterford, to vlog the wake of Fabiola, a woman of ill-repute who has apparently died twice. However, Trafadden island’s Mayor Daly is keen to have her focus on his legacy rather than the antics of the rougher elements of the local population. Mayor Daly’s attitude and behaviour at the wake enrages Fabiola’s corpse, chaos ensues and the fable takes a surprising turn…
The Angel of Trafadden is directed by Jim Nolan (director and writer-in-residence at Garter Lane Arts Centre) and stars Michael Power (winner of the Portsmouth International Film Festival Best Actor Award), Jenni Ledwell (Druid, Blue Raincoat, Passion Machine, Red Kettle) and Clodagh Power (Red Kettle, Theatre Royal).
Written and produced by Sue Healy, The Angel of Trafaddenwas made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the television licence fee.PODCAST HERE
It’s gong season. But forget your Tonys and Emmys and Oliviers and what-have-ya. Surely, the only drama awards that really matter are from the country that has given the world William Congreve, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Synge, Sean O’Casey, George Bernard Shaw, Brendan Behan, Brian Friel, Samuel Beckett, Martin McDonagh and Enda Walsh (to name a few)… yes, that’s right, Ireland. And today, the Irish Times Theatre Awards nominations were announced….
I’m particularly happy to see Jim Nolan’s play ‘Dreamland’ nominated for ‘Best New Play’. Jim, one of Ireland’s leading playwrights, has been a great supporter/mentor of mine over the years and has directed all four of my radio plays to date. ‘Dreamland’, which toured nationally in the early spring, also gets a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ nod for veteran Irish stage actor, Des Keogh. ‘Dreamland’ deserves to win, but even the nomination at least is recognition of Jim’s talent and tireless work for theatre, particularly in Waterford. I should mention that another of ‘Dreamland’ s cast is up-and-coming actor Michael Power. No stranger to awards himself (he won the Best Actor at the Portsmouth International Short-Film awards earlier this year), Michael is a core performer of our radio productions having acted in all four. So, to see Jim’s ‘Dreamland’ get two nods today, is very pleasing indeed for all of us.
Also, over in the Best Opera Production category, the Cork Operatic Society’s ‘Der Vampyr’, directed by Michael Barker Craven, is among the nominated – no doubt due in part to the talents of soprano Maire Flavin (yes, I’m biased, she’s my cousin – but she is a stand-out talent).
Delighted to post this review from Waterford Today Newspaper for my radio play ‘The Daffodil’ which broadcast on KCLR 96fm at the end of February.
“A very funny play, ‘The Daffodil’ nonetheless dealt with a number of serious global themes which impact contemporary Ireland: alcoholism, closeted homosexuality, the dangers of celebrity culture, loneliness, misplaced nostalgia and denial. However, the work is essentially entertaining and its sparky dialogue combined with a significant musical aspect to lend it a broad appeal.”
Please note: I don’t know when/if there will be a podcast – but I’ll keep you posted. Please see the side bar for a link to listen to my previous radio play ‘Cow’.
And if any of you are in Cork, Ireland, please see if you can catch ‘Dreamland’ playing at the Everyman until March Sat. 15th. ‘Dreamland’ was written by one of Ireland’s leading playwrights and directors, Jim Nolan, who directed both my plays. Michael Power who plays ‘Liam’ in ‘The Daffodil’ and ‘Damien’ in ‘Cow’, also stars in ‘Dreamland’. It’s a great play and causing quite a bit of controversy in Ireland – which is always a good sign.
I’ve finally uploaded my debut radio play, ‘Cow’ to YouTube. I’d love you to have a listen…
Storyline: Agi Kovacs, a beautiful Hungarian woman, arrives on Clearys’ farm, Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, to work as a mushroom picker. The Clearys’ already strained, childless marriage appears under further threat by her presence, however an unlikely friendship develops between Marie Cleary and Agi, leading both women to a new world view.
I wrote and produced the play which was directed by Jim Nolan and featured Michael Power (Game of Thrones), Madeleine Brolly and Geraldine Crowley,
‘Cow’ was made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for broadcast on KCLR 96fm in April 2013.
Sorry about my silence of late. I’ve been very busy with a number of projects most particularly ‘The Daffodil’ – a radio drama series in five episodes which I wrote, produced and wrapped this weekend in Ireland.
Starring Michael Power and Jenni Ledwell, with Jim Nolan in the director’s chair and Eugene Sully on sound – and musical arrangements by Natasha Purwin and Will Fergusson. It was a blast to make.
Set on the fictional Irish island of Trafadden, The Daffodil tells the tale of the relationship between Eurovision wannabe ‘Liam Egan’ and Eurovision hasbeen ‘Banba’, both mired in denial for different reasons. It’s got laughs (I hope) and music and brio – all of which were brought to the table by a stellar cast and crew.
I don’t have the dates of broadcast yet, but expect it will be in early January 2014. I will let you all know. Promise to get back on top of regular posts very soon.