By J M Synge
Starring Brendan Conroy
Adapted and directed by Joe O’Byrne
Insel Productions. Tickets €12
Brendan Conroy will bring to life Synge’s time on the Aran islands, when he immersed himself in the life of the islanders, absorbing their culture, and in particular their story telling, their folklore, their music and their customs.
Brendan Conroy is a veteran of the Irish stage and screen, and has appeared in many shows up and down the country. Most recently he appeared in ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’ at the Olympia, and ‘The Big Yum Yum’ by Patrick McCabe.
Joe O’Byrne has been directing show for many years, and has brought to the stage many adaptations, including ‘Frank Pig Says Hello’ by Patrick McCabe, and ‘The Woman Who Walked Into Doors’ by Roddy Doyle.
“The geography of the Aran Islands is very simple, yet it may need a word to itself. There are three islands: Aranmor, the north island, about nine miles long; Inishmaan, the middle island, about three miles and a half across, and nearly round in form; and the south island, Inishere–in Irish, east island,–like the middle island but slightly smaller. They lie about thirty miles from Galway, up the centre of the bay, but they are not far from the cliffs of County Clare, on the south, or the corner of Connemara on the north.
In the pages that follow I have given a direct account of my life on the islands, and of what I met with among them, inventing nothing, and changing nothing that is essential. As far as possible, however, I have disguised the identity of the people I speak of, by making changes in their names, and in the letters I quote, and by altering some local and family relationships. I have had nothing to say about them that was not wholly in their favour, but I have made this disguise to keep them from ever feeling that a too direct use had been made of their kindness, and friendship, for which I am more grateful than it is easy to say.”
This is from the introduction to the series of books that J.M. Synge wrote about his trips to the Aran Islands, and in his time there he gathered much of the material and stories that he would mine for the great plays he is most famous for.