Director Con Connolly says the group’s hiatus during Covid-19 was challenging for everyone involved.
“It was weird getting back out there of course. We tried to keep things going during the lockdowns but it was almost impossible. Even a performance outdoors would have been very difficult to police with social distancing,” he said.
“We were all really excited to be back together again. We’ve about 50 people involved with the group and they’ve been straggling back over the last few weeks. To be fair, you can see why it (theatre and drama) was one of the last things to return because of the close proximity (involved) but it’s great to be looking forward to a new production once again”.
The drama group has welcomed new members since the lifting of restrictions with all ages well represented and Con says both actors and backstage crew are learning fast.
“We’ve four or five new members and three of those have been cast in this production. It’s a great outlet to have and even during lockdown we were lucky to work with Enda Oates on a series of ‘Plays on the Radio’…that kept us alive and kept us in touch on WhatsApp.
“That was really interesting but at the end of the day it’s just not the same. The whole point is that it’s live drama and so you lose something when you take it away from the stage,” said Con, who also highlighted the longevity those involved can enjoy when it comes to their hobby.
“Drama is not like football or team sports, where you might get players deciding that the time has come to work on the golf handicap. You can play your part in drama for as long as you wish. There are also people who get involved who don’t want to act, but they go on and play an important role backstage. There’s lots of other things going on behind the scenes”.
The cast and crew have been busy rehearsing in Hannon’s Hotel ahead of their performances in April and the director is pleased with preparations so far.
“I’m delighted with them all. Using another sports analogy…it’s like coaching a team. If you have a good team then you can stand back and let them off!”
‘Bookworms’ is a comedy farce which remains as topical today as it was when written in 2010 following the post-Celtic Tiger crash, as Con explains: “Larry is an out-of-work builder and his wife Ann has this book club which is a great excuse for these women to get together. It’s when the husbands are asked to get involved that things get tricky!
“You also have Robert who works in the bank; Dorothy, who has had a tough time of it recently; Larry’s brother Vincent, who’s home from London, and Aisling who has just returned from Australia.
“It’s a very funny play and it’s full of misunderstandings. Farrell specialises in this kind of thing: throwing a bunch of characters together who would otherwise never normally meet.
“It’s an Irish production and it’s very relatable and we are hoping that people will come out in their droves to see it,” Con said.
While local productions were put on the back-burner over the last two years, Roscommon Drama Group did enjoy success on the One Act Drama circuit, recently finishing third in the All-Ireland finals, with Tom Holian winning the Confined Best Actor award.
The group’s latest production at Roscommon Arts Centre this April will be a welcome return to entertaining local audiences and tickets are priced at €14/€12.