SET in a small town in the West, If Only is a throwback to the showband era which juxtaposes modern-day Ireland with nostalgic bygone times.
Produced by Shake Productions in association with Wild Swan Theatre Company, If Only tells the story of Jack McMahon, a college graduate who is forced to return home to run the family business.
Co-writer of the play, Kevin Glynn tells The Clare Echo, “We were looking for a play to do for the winter and we couldn’t find one to suit all the characters we had at the time. I was in the pub one day with Shane and he said, ‘do you know what, we should write one to suit the cast’ so we said we’d kick around a few ideas.”
Stories from the classic ballroom in Gort from “back in the day” began to emerge as they chatted in the pub that day, which the pair agreed would be a perfect fit for what they were trying to achieve. “So we started getting these characters, there were so many of them and we decided to make them part of an old show band and as we were writing them, the characters started developing.”
Set over a three-day time period, Jack presides over the bar as locals and visitors arrive in for an unplanned reunion. Kevin continues, “The business was a rural pub which sold everything from a needle to an anchor. Of course Jack has no interest in the family business, all he wants to do is his music. All the guys in the band from 25 years ago meet at a funeral indirectly.
“It stirs up the old differences and regret of what happened back in the day and they speak lively about the showband era. What’s key to this is the young fella is trying to bring them all together for music.
“Will they or won’t they put the band back together for one night for the young fella, that’s the crux of the story.”
The thirteen member cast and crew have contributed to making this show including set, lighting, sound and of course the nine actors, three of whom hail from Clare including Peter Daffy, Bernie O’Shea and Maria Lockett (also a wonderful staff member at The Clare Echo).
Kevin also hints that the audience will be on their feet before the night is over, as they’re invited to join in a dance – “we break the fourth wall of the theatre and use the audience as extras, we have a dance.”
With the theatre group planning to bring the show to New York next April where the Irish community will be encouraged to attend, the group are focussing their energy on their Ennis and Galway dates this coming month.
“There’s a great buzz. This started about three years ago and when we got together for this run, the enthusiasm and fun in rehearsals is still great. Everyone is enjoying themselves and it’s evident, we’ll keep doing it while we’re enjoying it.
If Only will appear at glór Theatre on Saturday, November 9. For tickets contact glór box office.