Evelyn Briody and Eddie Brady getting in a little rehearsal time before next weekend’s outing.

Time for a dramatic treat

While there has been a 'lockdown boom' for streaming services like Netflix, Disney and Amazon Prime, the real life, up-close-and-personal drama of the stage has had to take break as social distancing rules have denied us the intimacy of theatre.

Audiences have been deprived of live drama over the last few months with no theatre, no productions, no concerts. Well all that is about to change next weekend as Millrace Drama Group present 'Treat On The Street'.

Freda Donohoe is one of the drama group members who have made this event possible: “It will take place on Saturday and Sunday night from 8pm on the street of Mullagh,” she told the Celt. “In an effort to keep culture alive and to give us, members of Millrace, a focus, we invited people to put pen to paper and write a 10-minute play during lockdown.”

That was the first step. Freda said the group was surprised by the level of interest in the project: “We were blown away with the response! We have 12 plays ready to present. Members of Millrace Drama and other local drama groups have come together to give you two evenings of live drama on the streets of Mullagh. Millrace Drama Group has always appreciated the support our followers and attendees and now we want to give you this festival of drama free of charge.”

The idea is not entirely new to Millrace Drama Group: “We did something similar in Virginia in February 2018. then again in Cootehill for the Arts Festival in '18 and '19. Now Mullagh gets to host these 12 new works.”

The format of the show is very conscious of the need to observe health restrictions. “The plays are site based. The small audiences rotate from one location to the next. Each play has a cast of two actors. They are run concurrently, with the audience moving between the 'sets'. The audience is divided into six groups. At the end of each play, they move on. At the end they have seen six different plays. It really is a full night's entertainment,” Freda explains.

“We are taking bookings, this is to allow for contact tracing. It is to bring a bit of life to the town. It is good to have a bit of a release.

We are hoping to get people in from all around. We have drawn from other drama groups. We have actors from Cavan, Carnaross, Shercock and a number of other places around. We have a group coming from Coolgreany in Wexford who heard about it on Facebook who are coming down for it.”

Making things happen was very much up to the creators of the piece: “The group facilitated 'Treat On The Street', but the writers had to get their own cast and directors. I have three pieces in. Conor Sheridan from Bailieborough is taking one of them. I have no idea how it will turn out until I see it on the night. Most rehearsals have been done outside when the weather permits. This is to get used to it, because it's going to be very different to being onstage.”

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