Cathy McGuigan made her directorial debut at the Granary with a fun take on Drama groups much like, no doubt, the producers of the evening – the venerable Waterford Dramatic Society. She chose a cracking cast to stage Don’t Mention The Dream by Damien Trasler, a new playwright ho is part of a semi-professional collective TLC Creative.
This society has survived in a faded sepia mixed with amber highlights, presenting nice little plays in a style of posh Mills and Boon. Yet they manage to entice and attract fine actors and actresses as well as able directors. McGuigan and her cast of four caught the moments of making tea, dramatic tantrums, air-kissing luvvies, opinionated divas and perhaps not a bow-tied male actor/director, clichéd comments about critics that only a critic could laugh at. Lots of catty lines about film not for the Bard and backstage people as just about being necessary for something.
As one who laboured long with WDS in the vineyard of backstage, paint, two by ones and glorious chesterbread teabreaks, I loved Anna Hickey’s stalwart role. Jenny Clooney swooped across the stage with a fine sense of the ridiculous and she shone like a diva of the drama. Shauna Farrell made good the hopeful beginner and tea-maker and Damian Dixon was a dervish of dramatic ham-acting.
The evening opened with a real memory-tinged Tennessee Williams fragment from 1941. A style of work that WDS did with aplomb back in the seventies. Peggy McCarthy embodied the faded gentility of a Blanche Du Bois deluded on dreams of rubber plantations finding a kindred spirit in Hugo O’Donovan’s deadbeat writer and dreamer. Denise Quinn brought an acid touch of hard-boiled pragmatism to the piece.
Denise Quinn later shone in a monologue by a modern Melbourne-based author, Joanne Murray-Smith from her Bombshells selection of 2001.
The style seemed too old-fashioned and less risqué about the defeat of expectation of widows and dressed like they still had sexual lives. When it should have been ribald it poached pears for tea in some Grantchester of desperation where it would still be ten to three, despite a jolly rogering to the ecstasy of sex. Good taste at all times, good acting too, sweetly pierced by death of disappointment and the literary cry of an orgasm between the lines.