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Jackie Scanlan as Harry, Brid Finnegan as Alice; Emmet O'Doherty as Dom and Kathleen McMahon as Mother in rehearsals for Ennis Players' production of The Loves of Cass Maguire. Photograph by John Kelly.

Ennis Players pay tribute to Friel

Ennis Players celebrate the life of world-acclaimed playwright, Brian Friel, with a production of The Loves of Cass Maguire on its 50th anniversary.

It is poignant that the Players are performing this play in the year of Brian Friel’s death and the Players believe they were the last amateur drama group in Ireland to receive a written license from Friel to perform the play, just two months before his passing.

Glór Theatre – from Wednesday, next to Saturday, February 27 – will be the venue for the latest production of the award-winning Ennis Players.

Allen Flynn, director, explained, “This is a very powerful play, both humorous and sad, but ultimately uplifting. Friel’s play deals with identity, the notion of truth and communication and how memories, both public and private, enable us to ride the highs and lows of life.

“Throughout the play, images from the past flood into Cass’s head and the story unfolds when, after 51 years in America, she returns to an Ireland and family which have changed utterly from what she had imagined all those years ago.

“To save herself from these changes, she shares her life, work and experiences with us and those around her. We also meet her brother and family, who have remained at home, and learn their stories.

“On her entry to Eden House, a ‘rest home’ for older people, Cass encounters some individual and entertaining people, who help her see her way to survival.”
Mr Flynn added that it “was indeed a privilege” to take on this play, especially in its 50th year and by such an acclaimed playwright.

“Such was the reputation of Brian that, two months after his death, as a tribute to him, every single theatre on Broadway went dark for one minute at 8pm,” he said.

Flynn feels that the sense of ‘home’ has never been more topical than it is right now, with the recent migration of more than 1,000,000 people to Europe, he says that this sense of where and what home is is the most poignant aspect of the play.

Following their performance in Glór, the Ennis Players will take the production on the amateur drama festival circuit, with performances in Doonbeg, Scariff, Charleville, Claremorris, Tubbercurry, Carrickmore and Belfast

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