The Man from Clare>Production Info
Theatre Banshee produced The Man from Clare by John B. Keane
May 23 through July 3, 2004
at the Gene Bua Theatre in Burbank, California.


Cast
Packey Dan Conroy
Petey Matthew Fahey
Cooney Matthew Schueller
Frank Kalafatic Poole
Jim Josh Thoemke
Daigan Andrew Leman
Padraic Dan Harper
Bríd Josie DiVincenzo
Nellie Rebecca Marcotte
Morisheen Barry Lynch
Elsie Robyn Heller
Production Team
Producers Sean Branney, Leslie Baldwin
Director Sean Branney
Stage Manager Katherine Trottier
Scenic Design Arthur MacBride
Costume Design Laura Brody
Lighting Design Mary O'Sullivan
Sound Design

John B. Keane (Playwright)
was one of Ireland’s most prolific and respected literary figures. John B. was born in 1928 in Listowel, County Kerry where he spent his literary career, running a pub which provided him with inspiration for his characters and ideas. His first play, Sive, was presented by the Listowel Drama Group and won the All-Ireland Drama Festival in 1959. It was followed by another success, Sharon’s Grave, in 1960. The Field (1965 adapted to an Oscar-winning film in 1991) and Big Maggie (1969), are widely regarded as classics of the modern Irish stage. But it was not just in his plays that John B. Keane managed to portray all aspects of humanity with both wit and truth. He also wrote many fine novels, including The Contractors, A High Meadow and Durango. Keane’s essays, short stories and letters have been published in numerous volumes. In 1999 he was presented with a Gradam medal, the Abbey Theatre's highest award. He was a member of Aosdána and the recipient of honorary doctorates from Trinity College, Limerick University and Marymount College, New York. John B. died on May 30, 2002 at the age of 73, after a long and difficult battle with cancer.

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Director's Notes

If you should ever have the chance to see the All Ireland Football Finals, in many ways it looks like any other major sporting event. Croke Park is filled with thousands upon thousands of fans; tickets simply aren’t to be had. Television commentators make their predictions and add their pithy insights as the teams take to the field. The players themselves wear uniforms festooned with logos of car manufacturers and electronics companies. They’re celebrities, heroes of their home country and the nation as a whole. And when the match is over and the All Ireland champions are crowned, when the celebrating is through and the glorious day is ended, the players go back to work.

At the highest level of Irish sport, the players are still amateurs. They’re butchers and salesmen, bartenders and priests. They have day jobs and lives beyond the game. These aren’t men who feel an entitlement to multi-million dollar contacts and sneaker endorsements. They are the best of the best at their sport, playing all-out at the game’s highest level. But, like the lads in The Man from Clare, when the game is done they return home and prepare to go back to their day jobs. Virtually all of the players in the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) are amateurs who make their livings through day jobs.

Playwright John B. Keane fits right into this paradigm of the amateur-master. He was one of the most widely read Irish authors of the 20th century. His novels, plays, short stories, essays and letters achieved world-wide acclaim. One of his plays became and Oscar-winning film. He received honorary degrees from several universities. But despite his vast acclaim and broad popularity, at the end of the day, John B. would return to day job: running a pub in his home town.

Throughout most of his life, John B. ran a pub in Listowel, a small town in the northern part of County Kerry. He was a huge fan of GAA football and played the game for years. Standing on the pouring side of the bar served him well as a writer; he tuned his ear to charming vernacular of his customers. His stories tend to be about regular folk dealing with the kinds of difficult circumstances and choices that life regularly brings.

We were attracted to this play by its simplicity and honesty. Like Death of a Salesman it begs the question of how do we survive when we lose the pillars that hold up our lives. But unlike Arthur Miller, Keane answers the question with a glint in his eye and the irrepressible Irish impulse for survival through humor. And a drink.

The pub’s still open, by the way, and the Keane family welcomes you all to stop by for a pint and a bit of craic when you’re in Listowel.

Special Thanks
Gene and Toni Bull Bua
Sharon & Ken Baldwin
Keith & Christina Reynolds
KCCS, Inc.
Andrew Leman
Aidan Branney
Joanna Flynn
Bobby Richard
Dan Conroy
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