‘A Wake in the West’ from Moville Drama group made its way to the Muff stage tonight. I had heard rave reviews of this drama over the Christmas period in Moville but was unable to make any of the performances. I was delighted to hear last week that it was making its debut outside Moville at St. Mary’s Hall in Muff tonight.
So myself and a friend went along earlier to see what all the fuss with this ‘Wake’ was about!
‘A Wake in the West’ tells the story of old Tom Healey. His life, his death, his love of the booze and his ultimate death because of that booze! Set in the West of Ireland in a rural fishing village, Tom leaves a dying wish – that he would be cremeated and his ashes be scattered at sea.
On arrival at St. Mary’s Hall tonight we were offered a cup of tea and biscuit (as Tom’s remains lay in the bed on stage). This really was a typical Irish wake in every way – and the drama hadn’t even started. Young and old from the community were gathered in the local hall and chatter was heard throughout. It was funny from the onset as some people were whispering “he looks almost real” in reference to the ‘dead’ Tom on stage. Tom was indeed very real, as Shane Carey lay there, dead as could be (well he certainly look so to me).
Tom is causing trouble for the family in death, just as he did in life. The drama that unfolds relating to this wish being carried out is entertaing and hilarious from start to finish.
We see false teeth being extracted from the dead Tom…we see Tom’s face changing shape due to the missing false teeth…we see 81 year old Rose, who has stolen the teeth, become haunted by the dead man and Margaret lose her ability to speak…all because of the dead Tom…and there was an exorcism!
Martin (Tom’s son) returns from America with his ‘twang’ and newfound beliefs. There’s the priest who tries to instil some normality (as if) in the wake home….it’s the priest who finally speaks some wisdom in that Margaret got the raw end of the deal when she married the ‘non-workaholic, useless’ Barney.
A Wake in the West has been described as, “An archetypal Irish sitcom that combines the most solemn of situations with unrelenting comedy.”Wake in the West
This drama gave us all something to laugh at and entertain us for almost two hours tonight but it also brought home some realistic issues:
It reminded us of how important the Irish wake really is. This tradition is dying out in many parts of the country. It’s an occasion for all to come together and grieve for the dead. It’s an occasion for a community to come together and support the family of the dead. And it’s also an occasion for people to come together and celebrate the life of the dead. It’s a traditon which we must hold on to. It’s one we really must retain.
Tonight also reminded us how important it is to support local drama. This in itself is an occasion to bring the communtiy together and allow an escape from reality. What better way for people to come together and enjoy an evening that watching a story unfold on the stage.
Tonight the Moville Drama group brought all of the above to the community in Muff. The twist at the end has left us all with something to ponder….
The Oscars may well be happening in LA tonight, but heck, Shane Carey definitely wins my Oscar for his performance as Tom in ‘A Wake in the West’.
Great play, great fun, and an exceedingly great cast.
Cast tonight included: Shane Carey, Maurice McGeadey, Maura Harkin, Mandie Bredin, Anna Connolly, Mary Bradley Dougall, Paul Bredin, Eamon McLaughlin and Gerard Sonia: MC for the evening was Raymond Dougall and Producer/Director, Eamon McLaughlin