Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair are readying their upcoming production, “An Solas Dearg”, a look at the impact of telecommunications on rural Ireland.
“An Solas Dearg is on in the GAA Clubhouse, Gaoth Dobhair on Wednesday, April 16th; Good Friday, April 18th; and Saturday, April 19th.
Aisteoirí member Cathal Ó Gallchóir will direct the play, the first play the Gaeltacht company has staged since the passing of the Aisteoirí’s long-serving director, Tomás Mac Giolla Bhrighde (Tom A’ Bhungalow) last December.
“I’ve never directed a play on my own before, but many a conversation I had with Tom about directing. His advice was just go and do it, but I never had the nerve,” Cathal said. “It is important since Tom’s passing that we keep going. The show must go on, as he would say.”
“An Solas Dearg” is a two-act play written by Antoine Ó Flatharta, a playwright whose work has been produced at the Peacock Theatre, Project Arts Centre, The Taibhdhearc and the Dublin Theatre Festival. He was writer in residence with Team Theatre Company in 1989-1990 and has written radio and television plays for RTÉ and BBC. “An Solas Dearg” was first produced by the Abbey Theatre in 1995, directed by Deirdre Friel. It is one of the few newly written plays in Irish to be produced by the Abbey in the last 20 years.
This play was originally set in Connemara in the age of telecommunications and deals with the implications of the burgeoning communications industry on a rural community. It has been adapted into the Donegal dialect for local audiences by Sean Ó Maolagain, a long-time Aisteoirí member.
One of only a few Irish language theatre producers, Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair was founded in 1931. Because of a lack of plays in the Irish language they wrote and translated plays to suit the Irish-speaking audiences. Their first performance was in Derrybeg Hall in 1932 and the group travelled extensively with their productions from 1932 to 1961. Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair opened in 1961 and the Aisteoirí produced many plays there over the years.
Many of Aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair’s members will be well known to television audiences from numerous appearances in such programmes as CU Burn, Gleann Ceo, FFC, Rós na Rún and Rasaí na Gaillimhe.
The cast of “An Solas Dearg” includes veteran actors Sean Ó Maolagain, Bernie Ní Dhuibhir, Máire Uí Rabhartaigh and some new faces to the Aisteoirí stage, Áine Ní Bhreisleain, Colm Mac Giolla Easpuig and Dónal Ó Cnáimhsí. Áine is well known as a reporter for TG4 news and Dónal is no stranger to the stage, performing with Aisteoirí De hÍde and Aisling Ghearr in Belfast, but this is his first production with Aisteoiri Ghaoth Dobhair.
The set is constructed by Sean Ó Duibhir and Manus Ó Domhnaill, long-standing members of the Aisteoirí. Suzanne Ní Ghallchóir is assistant director.
“This play is very modern and of a different style but I think people will enjoy it,” Cathal said. “I hope they do.”
Tickets available at the door. €8/€5. More information at 0872404510.