‘Rare’ John B Keane play set for Abbeyfeale

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

Joss O'Brien (Donal Woulfe) tries to direct his wayward son Jamesie (Lorcan Curtin) on the straight and narrow
THE curtain will go up on a rarely-performed John B Keane play at the Glórach Community Theatre in Abbeyfeale next week.

THE curtain will go up on a rarely-performed John B Keane play at the Glórach Community Theatre in Abbeyfeale next week.

“The play, The Rain At The End Of The Summer, is a powerful story,” says director Donal Woulfe.

The play explores the conflicting moral attitudes of a family and was first performed in the Gaiety Theatre Dublin by the Southern Theatre Group in 1967.

“We are delighted to have unearthed this rare John B Keane script, a play that has not been done in my lifetime,” Mr Woulfe said.

The play opens on a scorching summer’s day when the O’Brien family gathers in the back garden, exchanging idle conversation and eating ice cream.

The central character of the play, and the family patriarch, Joss O’Brien, is a Cork draper in his sixties.

A widower, a self-made man and a dreadful bore, he is an embarrassment to his ambitious sons, Toddy, a successful lawyer and Jamesie, who has taken over the family business.

His daughter Ellie, the youngest in the family, is working as a secretary while wily housekeeper Kate Mulcahy has been the mainstay of the household for 19 years, overseeing all and sundry and being suitably discreet at the same time.

But Joss harbours a secret intention to marry his housekeeper. His daughter, loving and tolerant, convinces him he needs 
to tell the rest of the family of his intentions and to accept the consequences. But it all starts to go horribly wrong and as the drama unfolds, the family unravels.

The caring but deeply conservative Joss is shaken to the core by the revealing of secrets and having to face severe challenges to both his authority and beliefs.

His difficulty in accepting societal changes is probably best exemplified in some of his exchanges with Toddy’s fiancée, Penny, who is quite liberal, if slightly snobbish, in some of her attitudes and opinions. And the play moves to a disturbing end.

Joss is played by Donal Woulfe and is joined by a stellar cast that includes Martin Tobin, Mary Murphy, Jackie Quirke, Lorcan Curtin and Marina Collins O’Connor. Theresa O’Halloran, John O’Sullivan, Katie Moloney and Seamus Lane will be making a unique cameo appearance.

The Rain At The End Of The Summer opens next Thursday, November 19 with further shows on November 21, 22, 24, 27, 28 and 29. Curtain goes up each night at 8 pm and tickets for this show can be booked at 0871383940.