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“Carolan's Cap”

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Gallagher, Miriam (Irish playwright, novelist, screenwriter, 1940-____), “Carolan's Cap,” a 45-minute bare-stage interlude with music in English; also, translated into Finnish by Tiina Ripatti, set in a convivial 'Big House', evening as he takes his nightcap of ale, 1738,

1m (+ musicians)

; • © 1986 by Miriam Gallagher; • in Miriam Gallagher’s Carolan's Cap (Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland: The Author, 2003); • script/rights available from Miriam Gallagher, 53 Upper Beechwood Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Ireland, e-mail mirager@indigo.ie, telephone (home/work/fax) Dublin (01-4976880; or available from Internet Theatre Bookshop, http://www.stageplays.com. • Cited by Miriam Gallagher via ftp December 15, 2003; Gallagher says,

§ Dramatis Persona Turlough O'Carolan (m), famous Irish harper-composer (1670-1738), convivial, in his prime. Though blind he is full of life and laughter.

§ Synopsis “O'Carolan, famous Irish harper-composer, convivial, in his prime, conjures up his life, loves, people and places through the power of his music, making a seamless tapestry of dramatic colour. Carolan, dressed as in life, though blind, entertains with wit, laughter and 'divilment' while he consumes his customary nightcap of ale. He recounts visits to his patrons, his beloved Brigid Cruise, his poem for Miss Fetherston, whom he followed on her way to Mass. He remembers with glee the musical contest with Geminiani and the famous tune that came from it ('Mrs. Power' or 'Carolan's Concerto'). As he takes his leave, the lone recorder/flute plays the poignant ‘Farewell to Music.’

§ Comment “Easy to stage. A convivial 'Big House' (suggested). No scene change. Props are a table chair and his tankard of ale. Great scope for actor. Musicians, for example, could include classical guitar, recorders, harp. • Premiered in National Concert Hall, RT, Dublin, Ireland, 1986. Produced later in Carolan Fest, Keadue, Helsinki, and in Estonia (Tallin) Other Irish productions and radio broadcast by Rté. The Finnish production included no harp but flute and classical guitar. • 'Informative and absorbing entertainment with a sensitivity of construction'’—Irish Times. • 'A performance of joy and confidence.'—Turun Sanomat, Helsinki. • Her work has been staged and screened in Ireland, UK, Europe, U.S.A., Canada. Translated into Irish, Dutch, Russian and Finnish. • Miriam Gallagher, author and playwright studied drama in London (LAMDA) and later at Focus, Dublin's Stanislavski theatre. She has received theatre and filmscript awards, worked in professional, community and prison theatre and also performed and directed for stage and screen. Her plays are particularly popular with amateur drama groups. Published in Miriam Gallagher’s Fancy Footwork: Selected Plays by Miriam Gallagher (Society of Irish Playwrights [formerly The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters’ Guild], 1991, 1997), ISBN 0953820009, 13 plays including 5 with small cast, like ‘Dreamkeeper’ and ‘The Sealwoman and the Fisher’). • Research could include Patrick Ball’s Celtic Harp 1: Music of Turlough O'Carolan (Fortuna Records, October 16, 1991), B0000007SD, containing (1) “Carolan's Quarrel With the Landlady,” (2) “Maurice O'Connor,” (3) “Blind Mary,” (4) “Carolan's Receipt for Drinking,” (5) “Carolan's Ramble to Cashel,” (6) “Carolan's Welcome,” (7) “Young William Plunkett,” (8) “George Brabazon,” (9) “Lady Athenry/Fanny Poer,” (10) “Give Me Your Hand,” (11) “Lady Maxwell,” (12) “Dermott O'Dowd/Queen's Dream,” (13) “Mrs. Judge,” (14) “Carolan's Farewell to Music,” (15) “Sheebeg, Sheemore.” • The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters' Guild, originally named the Society of Irish Playwrights or SIP, “was founded in 1969 to safeguard the rights of playwrights. However nowadays it is involved just as much in screenwriters' issues as well as stage dramatists. Originally based in Liberty Hall where it had it's own office and a fulltime administrator, the Guild is now based in the Irish Writers' Centre 19 Parnell Square, Dublin, and has access to the secretarial and admin staff who work there. At present the Guild is a totally voluntary organisation run for and by writers. The Guild is affiliated to SIPTU, is a member of the European Writers' Congress, and has close alliances with the International Affiliation of World Guilds. The Guild has a considerable influence on writers' contracts in Radio and TV and, to a lesser extent, in Theatre. The Guild runs regular courses for aspiring writers and administers the annual O.Z. Whitehead playwriting competition. The Guild has a member on the Abbey Board of Directors and has two members on the Board of the Irish Writers' Centre.”—Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, http://www.writerscentre.ie/IPSG.html, accessed December 15, 2003.

§ Themes genius, Irish harp music, O'Carolan (Turlough O'Carolan, famous Irish harper-composer, 1670-1738).



See also Miriam Gallagher’s

  • "Bohemians," a 50-minute bare-stage comedic theatrical musical interlude in English, set in a soprano's mind, 1989 and 1800s, 2m1f
  • "Dreamkeeper," a 25-minute bare-stage drama in English, set in a wilderness, dawn-evening, 1984, 1m1f
  • "Kalahari Blues," a 20-minute comedy-drama in English, set in a run-down big house in an Irish town, day, 2001, 2m2f
  • "Nasturtiums and Cherry Buns," a 45-minute comedy-drama in English, set in a city centre café, a working day's duration, 2003, 3f
  • "Nocturne," a 45-minute bare-stage impressionistic theatrical musical interlude in English; also, translated into Russian by Sonya Polyaninkina, set in a salon, Russia, evening, 1987, 1m1f (+ pianist)
  • "The Sealwoman and the Fisher," a 25-minute bare-stage play for dancers in English; also, translated into Erse (Irish Gaelic) by Margaret Birmingham, set in Sea Shore, Church, Fisher's house, day, moonlit night, 1984, 1m1f (+ chorus 1m2f, dancer)

This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted December 17, 2003, and updated December 18, 2003, by the Webmaster.

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