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Writing Competition

Photo L-R Brian Walsh, Ollie Kenny (One Act Secretary), Mark Yeates
The winners of the 2021 DLI/ADCI Playwriting Competition, in association with the Ramor Theatre, were announced at the All Ireland One Act Finals in Ennis in December. Congratulations to the finalists, and to all those writers who submitted their plays.

OVERALL WINNER:

Love the Pole by Mark Yeates

  • Setting:  Sitting room of a Dublin home
  • Time:  The Present
  • Characters:  Bernie and Bridie, two aunts, aged 60/75
    • Millie: Niece, aged 25/40
    • Barney: Friend, butcher, aged 60/75

This one-act play is an absurdist black comedy. Millie visits her aunts reluctantly to celebrate her birthday. Life has not been good to her as a recent court judgement has gone against her. Her aunts, along with Barney, the singing butcher, are determined to give her a day – and a present – to remember.

 

FIRST RUNNER-UP:

Role of a Lifetime,  by Brian Walsh

  • Setting:  A clairvoyant’s stand at a fair
  • Time:  The Present
  • Characters:
    • Claire, a clairvoyant 50+
    • Frank, a sceptical onlooker 50+
    • Charlie, a worker at the fair, any age

When Claire returns after a break to her stand, she finds Frank waiting for her. There begins an argument about believing or not believing in clairvoyance. The play explores feelings and what has sometimes been left unsaid. The ending reveals that the seemingly superficial conversation has had more depth than imagined.

 

SECOND RUNNER-UP:

Exhibition,  by Derek Masterson

  • Setting:  A bright white artist’s studio with an unrevealed large work of art.
  • Time:  The present
  • Characters:
    • Elaine, the artist – early 30s
    • Fionnuala – late 40s. Perfect on the outside in every way.
    • Frederick – late 40s. The kind but flawed big brother.
    • Godfrey – early 40s. The self-made tycoon with an axe to grind.
    • Mother – Elderly woman. A stoic dark figure.

A successful artist who has made “art out of her pain” is about to unveil her newest and boldest work to date. She brings together her estranged siblings for a sneak peak of the exhibit. What ensues is an utterly dysfunctional but healing get-together. It is a dark  comedy that attempts to understand the agony and devastation of growing up with an alcoholic mother, yet also attempts to comprehend the pain of what it is to BE an alcoholic mother.

 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

A Thousand Deaths,  by John Clancy

  • Setting:  Inside a church; a funeral of a mother.
  • Time:  The present
  • Characters:
    • Dan: The Father (60s)
    • James: The Son (30s/40s)
    • Nora: The Daughter (30s/40s)
    • Mrs Malone: The Sacristan (60s)
    • Mary: The Neighbour (60s/70s)
    • Eileen: The Butcher’s Wife (50s/60s)
    • Mother: The Mother (60s)

(Mrs Malone, Mary, Eileen and Mother can be played by the same person).

At the funeral of a wife and mother who has suffered for ‘A Thousand Days’ from dementia, the errant daughter and sister returns home on the day of the funeral. Family tensions and truths unfold in the church; there is anger, laughter, tears and some surprising revelations. People may think they are doing good, but do they see the real suffering. And will a shocking secret come to light?

 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

Achill Sound,  by Ken Armstrong

  • Setting:  Various – a basic set which allows for an interview room, an office, a car and a farmhouse kitchen.  There is a visible steel wire which runs around the stage – the type that a dog’s lead could be attached to.
  • Time:  The Present
  • Characters:
    • Interviewer: Male or female 30s/40s
    • Giles: a farmer 50s/60s
    • Laura: manager, lecturer 30s/40s
    • Elaine: census enumerator 30s/40s
    • Jill: her companion 30s/40s
    • Mary: Giles’s wife 50s/60s
    • The Escapologist: any age

The play is a black comedy. A census enumerator returns to work after suffering a traumatic car accident in which her wife was killed. Working on a new patch in north Mayo she encounters an unusual individual on his remote farm. In moments of danger, she is forced to learn about the value of independence and inner strength.

 

HIGHLY COMMENDED:

Fred Astaire,  by Frank Houlihan

  • Setting:  A dressing table on which there is a mirror in the centre at which Charlie sits. The wife sits stage right, the mother stage left. The three characters do not look at each other directly except one time at the play’s end. When the dialogue indicates a conversation between characters, those involved will look in the space between the character and the audience. Though the stage is lit with a wash, there are three pools of white light – one on each character.
  • Time:  The Present
  • Characters:
    • Charlie (20s – 40s)
    • The Wife (according to age of actor playing Charlie)
    • The Mother (50s/60s)

The play is about identity; about love and the different kinds of love from two different perspectives. Charlie’s mother and his wife both love him but in their own different ways – their love is manipulative. Charlie tries to please them, to be a ‘Fred Astaire’ but he is never allowed to be himself. How will he deal with the situation?