The theme of the Waterford St. Patrick’s Day parade was Play Your Part and the sun shone, people dressed up and playwright and favourite son, Jim Nolan, was the Grand Marshall. There was face-painting in John Robert’s Square as well as two rocking good bands to please the generations.
But the City Council excelled itself with a play as Gaeilge in a tent inside the Greyfriars Municipal Gallery. Arts Officer, Conor Nolan, brought the up-and-coming Irish language theatre group BRANAR from Galway to provide family entertainment.
In the Gallery the black tent could hold about sixty people and the 45 minute production was Aister Ailbi (Ailbi’s Adventures). This was European quality mime and physical theatre work with delightful costumes, puppets, masks, three fine young actors and a brilliant musician who provided a range of effects. It told in simple Irish and great mime the story of a girl, Ailbi, whom after a storm a flower grows to comfort her. The magical flower is Aileacht (Beauty). In her sleep the flower vanishes and Ailbi sets off to recapture Beauty.
Along the way she meets Dohfawhaon, an overalled-puppet who dances mechanically. Fat Cedric was a howl and Nota a character who captures sounds in containers was amazing.
All ended happily and the flower returned with the sunshine. Nota was played by the author Marc Mac Lochlainn. Cedric was Maire Greaney; Morgan Cooke was the versatile musician and Ionia Ni Chroinin was the excellent Ailbi.
Waterford-born and ex-Waterford Youth Drama star, Marcus Quinlan, was the Tour Manager. This wonderful treat on our national Holiday was special and deserves to return for Sprog or Spraoi.