5th Year Trip to the Cork Opera House

Fifth Year English / History Theatre Trip:

On Thursday 28th April, my classmates and I attended a performance of Sean O’Casey’ The Plough and the Stars in the Cork Opera House. Prior to attending the play, we had studied the play in class as part of our Comparative Study for the Leaving Certificate. Despite very enthusiastic performances in class, watching the actors on stage really enhanced our understanding and appreciation of the play further.

The performance was part of a national tour undertaken by the Abbey Theatre and directed by the Olivier Award-winning director, Sean Holmes. There is no doubt that the play is still very relevant. This year our school commemorated the centenary of the 1916 Rising and this play forced us to look at some of the uncomfortable and challenging aspects of what transpired during this rebellion. The production flawlessly chronicled the deterioration of the ordinary people who were so grossly affected by the events of Easter Week a hundred years ago. It ripped apart the ideals of nationalism, patriotism and imperialism. This is most powerfully depicted in the story of Nora and Jack Clitheroe, a couple who are literally sundered apart by the call of nationalism. We were all very impressed by the performance of Kate Stanley Brennan as Nora Clitheroe in particular.           

The ideal of nationalism was taken to task from the outset with the character of Mollser coughing and spewing blood in her rendition of ‘Amhrán na bhFian’. This multifaceted play really depicts the utter devastation left in the wake of the Easter Rising. We are left in no doubt of the sacrifice of those who fought in the GPO, but are now keenly aware of the heroics of the very ordinary people who lived through such a tumultuous time in Irish History.

Thanks to Ms. Foley and Mr. Finbar Ahern for accompanying us on this trip.

 Darren Halpenny 5th Year