by John Boland
The search for a suitable play for TY students is invariably a thrawl through three sources – youth drama, adult drama and many resonate with young people on an emotional or historical level, or a drama which other students in the college are studying for their Junior or Leaving Certificate.
This year it was decided to break new ground and present “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, an iconic American drama, and the most widely produced play in U.S. high schools. Set in a mythical small town, Grovers Corners New Hamshire, it follows the ordinary lives of some of its inhabitants. Nothing very important ever happens here, people go about their daily lives, grow up, get married, have children and pass on …..
What makes this play so popular with U.S. audiences? The setting for the play is during the early years of the 20th century, when life was less complicated for Americans, when family values seemed constant, society more secure and doors did not have to be locked at night. Nothing much happens here, except the ordinary and mundane, yet its simplicity and its appeal to our desire for security and meaning in our lives makes it a world wide favourite.
The boys of Garbally TYs in collaboration with the girls of Ard Scoil Mhuire TYs tackled this project with great enthusiasm and that greatest of commodities …. Youthful energy. George Bernard Shaw once commented with tongue in cheek, that youth was such a precious commodity, it was a pity to waste it on the young. It certainly was not wasted on the 40 or so students involved in this production. The play demanded this and also needed the cooperation of numerous teachers in both schools. Thankfully this was 100% forthcoming.
Rehearsals were held, lines were learned, eventually. Thankfully the TY co-ordinator Mr Paul Walsh, did not get a nervous breakdown from worry!
I have always had great confidence in young people, a confidence that most teachers share. Having been away from Garbally for some years, it saddened me to realise what a shambles of a country my generation had bequeathed on these young citizens of tomoorow. One’s first inclination is to apologise and ask forgiveness. Having discussed J. B. Keane’s, The Field with them, dwelling on the greed and twisted logic of the main themes, I decided that Our Town presented a more obvious road to happiness and values. As from Robert Frost’s Road Less Travelled, it provided us with a road that might make us better people. The stage manager of Our Town reminds us that “you’ve got to live life to love life, and you’ve got to love life to live life”. When Emily asks him in Act 3 if any human beings ever realise life as they live it, he replies, “No (pause) The saints and poets maybe – they do some”
If by studying this play, one, just one student learns to live life to love life, then the whole exercise will have been worthwhile. Working with these boys and girls was a privilege. The journey into other characters and values, hopefully, is something that will stay with them. All the cast deserve the greatest praise, all the stage crews, lighting men, sound techs. Also a special work of praise must go to our mini orchestra and choir!
Finally a sincere thanks to Mr Paul Walsh and Mr Seamus O’Brien for the trust they placed in me. I hope it wasn’t misplaced.
Daire Curley, Padraic McHugh, Peter Curley, Fiachra Muldoon, Emma Finnerty, Sarah Barrett, Matthew McMorrow, Stephanie Kelly, Jack Curley, Meadbh Egan, Kyle Greene, Sean Deane, Alice Cogavin, Raymond Dolan, Ronan Kelly, Ciara Moloney, Ryan McDaid, Ross McKeon, Eoin Moran, Evan Blake
Musicians: Grainne Kenny, Deirdre Egan, Brid Claffey, Caoimhe Divilly, Paula McGrath
Choir: Rebecca Dooley, Sarah Curley, Kate Croffey, Ciara Crobett
Stage Crew: Andrew Mannion, David Shaughnessy, Mark Jennings, Daniel Walsh, Jacob Walshe, Jack Parsons
Lights: Jacob Walsh, David Shaughnessy
Matthew McMorrow captured the character precisely
Fiachra Muldoon struts his stuff expertly
The cast of Our Town produced and directed by Mr John Boland with the help of Mr Paul Walsh TY co-ordinator.