It was House Full signs up for the Waterford Dramatic Society production of John B. Keane’s Sive first seen in Listowel, fifty years ago. The public obviously have a great love and interest in these older fashioned dramas that have withstood the tests of time. The Director, Denise Quinn, with the involvement of an experienced cast, gave an old fashioned telling of the tale in a most naturalistic setting in an over-bright but clever setting from Ken Fortune.
While I might have preferred a more heightened folktale, these capacity audiences show the potential for quality drama of the tried and trusted variety.
The story of an illegitimate schoolgirl being married off to a rich (grass of twenty cows) but old, single farmer, seems far-fetched by today’s standards but this audience loved the spot-on interpretation and horrible greed of people in desperate circumstances.
This was a production where hardly any aspect was overplayed and you got the revulsion and bitterness that oozes out of some of these characters in the course of an evening. From Bertie Rogers’, unctious and manipulative Matchmaker, you got the seed-greed of the story.
Geri Oakes was spot-on as the bitter cantankerous Nan Glavin, who was unwanted in her weak son’s house. She did not spare her venom on the son, Mike Glavin, played by Tobie Hickey, who caught beautifully the reality of small-holding farming in the 1950s. Jackie Power, as the disappointed and avaricious wife, Mena, was chilling in her uncaring greed and uncomfortable self-interest. Everything about this fine performance was well thought out and considered.
Rory Walsh portrayed the hesitancy of the young carpenter Liam Scuab, with well-dressed precision. Sinead Bolger played Sive with sympathy and forbearance.
Tommy Kavanagh, making a legendary return to the stage, was splendid as the old lusting farmer, Sean Dota, and his was a commanding piece of almost under-acting, such was his interpretation of the character.
Hugo O’Donovan, as Pats Bocock brought menace and fear, as well as a great dollop of fine dialogue about poetry being a gift from the angels in Heaven to this play. His was a finely tuned, measured performance and a fine counterpoint for the brutish son Carthalawn who beats out the horrible tale in sung or chanted verse to a bodhran accompaniment. Dean Sullivan once again impressed and added another fine performance to an early catalogue.
Cathy McGuigan, on publicity, showed the fine crowd gathering ability she honed in the Theatre Royal. Waterford Dramatic Society is over seventy years in existence and this production helps to prolong this wonderful tradition of bringing drama to an appreciative community.