WHAT started as a “see how it goes” production of a John B Keane play has surpassed all expectations with hundreds now on a waiting list to see The Field, writes Aine Fitzgerald.
Such has been the response to the Charleville production at the Schoolyard Theatre in the town that people attempting to book tickets have even said they would happily sit on the floor once they get to see the production.
“I know from Mike Donegan (booking agent) that when we finished on the last night, he had hundreds of names on a waiting list to get seats,” explained Bruff-based actress Margie Nagle who plays the role of Maggie Butler in the play.
“People were even prepared to sit on the floor. They said they would sit on the steps if they couldn’t get a seat. If there were cancellations, Mike Donegan was on that phone immediately and people were getting into cars and coming at a fast pace.”
The production by the Shoestring Theatre Company which sees D’Unbelievables star Jon Kenny in the lead role as ‘The Bull’ McCabe opened in late September with a limited number of dates.
Now, according to the director, Kevin O’Shea, it is “absolutely possible” that they could run it two to three nights a week until Christmas and sell it out.
“The alternative would be to pull it back – bring it back up with a big splash next May and bring it into a big theatre - we are considering that.”
The Charleville-based director credits the talent of the cast and the popularity of Jon Kenny with its success. And he says they have been inundated with enquires since an article on the play appeared in the Leader.
“The Limerick Leader seems to have done us extraordinary favours. We have done a little survey on the audiences and the reality is less than five per cent are from Charleville. The audience - the majority of them are 061 numbers – Limerick county and Limerick city and north Cork. Once the Limerick Leader put it on – it went mad.
“We are now getting phonecalls from Galway and Clare. We have bus loads in from West Cork on November 9. I got a group from Wicklow – 72 people who want to come down – the list goes on and on.”
Actor Jon Kenny said he sensed during rehearsals “that we had something good here”.
“I knew we were going somewhere different. People who had seen different productions of it before were saying it’s the same script but it’s a different Field. Most people said; I didn’t expect this, this is good,” he said.
“Something happens there – it doesn’t happen all the time in theatre but when it does happen, it’s great to be part of it.”