Cavan’s most horrifying tragedy is recalled in a surprisingly uplifting drama, coming to the Ramor Theatre this week. 'The Stolen Child’ by Bairbre Ni Chaoimh and Yvonne Quinn recalls the night of February, 23 1943 when St Joseph’s Orphanage (The Poor Clares) in Cavan caught fire, resulting in the loss of 35 children and one elderly woman.
The play, performed by the Ramor Players confronts the mistreatment and neglect of children housed in Industrial Schools in Ireland in the early-mid twentieth century. We are told the heartbreaking story through the eyes of Peggy (Maureen Kelleher), now in her 60s. Peggy was left at an Industrial School by her abusive father after her mother’s death. In her early 20s, ill-informed about sexuality, she became pregnant and was forced by the nuns to give her daughter up for adoption.
The play is set in the 1980s, Peggy’s daughter Angela (Fiona McGarvey), now a successful, single Dublin business owner, goes looking for her mother. She enlists the services of Mick Treacy, (Conor Sheridan) a gruff but loveable private investigator. Angela’s life is further complicated by an affair she is having with married doctor (Cyril Keegan) which leads to an unexpected pregnancy and then a miscarriage.
Underpinning the entire play are Peggy’s monologues as she retraces and tells the sad story of her life. It is a powerful moving piece of theatre with a heart wrenching story one that will resonate with the people of Cavan familiar with the story of the fire. Yet it is not a bleak story but uplifting and light with lots of humour interspersed.
Directed by Darragh Smith of Mullagh Drama Group it is a play that is bound to capture the imagination and entertain. The Stolen Child opens in the Ramor Theatre tomorrow, Thursday, May 22 and will run until Friday, May 30. Booking at the theatre on 049 8547074 or online at www.ramortheatre.com.