THE play The Resurrection of Dinny O’Dowd first took to the Whitegate theatre stage in April 1908 but it was resurrected recently to coincide with the centenary celebrations of Whitegate National School.
As part of research undertaken by local author Alfie O’Brien, who was looking into the history of the school and locality, he came across an article in the Clare Journal, which referred to the first production of the Seamus McManus play.
The play was first performed by the Whitegate Amateur Dramatic Club in 1908 and playing the character of Bridget was Delia Burke. Delia Burke’s granddaughter, Carmel Keenan (née Burke), was cast in the same role for the recently staged production.
The account given in the Clare Journal on April 4, 1908 stated that the play “caused a continuous uproar of laughter and cheering as the different characters graced the stage”.
When Mary Flanagan, principal of Lakyle National School asked Mike Treacy, of Treacy’s Shop, Whitegate, would he direct the play, they didn’t have the script. It wasn’t until Alfie tracked down Seamus McManus’ relative, Brian MacRory, that they found a copy and retrieved the rights to produce the play.
The production was performed at Whitegate GAA Hall on Tuesday, December 15 and Wednesday, December 16 and the production team haven’t ruled out a third performance in the New Year.
The play centres on the character Dinny O’Dowd, who having fled his native home to avoid debts returns after a three-year absence. But a case of mistaken identity leads locals to believe Dinny is dead and they fear his ghost has now returned to haunt them.
A humorous tale of Dinny’s escapades masquerading as his own ghost unfolds.