I have a variety of jobs on the go- some are long term, some short term with specific deadlines fast approaching.
Lets jump in with one that is either coming to an end, or just about to leap into greatness and parish history.
Scor na Og /The Kiltubrid Players/El Toro/Conor MacManus, me and The Pig Exectutive
quite a headline if you don’t mind me saying.
Alright… what is Scor na nOg?
I wasn’t really sure myself. One day in late January I recieved a call from an enthustatic woman named Imelda McWeeney who asked very nicely if I would consider directing a few people for the Novelty Act entry in this year’s Scor. I hadn’t a clue as to what she was talking about, so for the benifit of all, I’ve taken this brief description from the Scor web site. This is catered towards Non-Irish residents and just to further your education (and mine) the GAA is Irish Football-different from rugby, American or Canadian football and definitely not soccer.
In the Official Guide of the Gaelic Athletic Association Rule 4 states as a clear objective the following: “The Association shall actively support the Irish language, traditional Irish dancing, music, song and other aspects of Irish culture.”With the birth of Scór in 1969 the GAA through its clubs has become actively involved in promoting Irish culture in a meaningful and enjoyable manner. Language and culture are amongst the most important elements of Irish heritage. The GAA, through it’s many clubs throughout the country and through Scór nÓg and Scór Sinsear, has played a significant part in the revival of our culture and heritage in creating an understanding and interest in its importance.Scór competitions commence in each county with clubs competing to represent their county in one of the many different Scór events. County winners go through to the Provincial Finals with the winners at that stage qualifying for the All-Ireland Finals.
Scór is divided in two sections. Scór na nÓg caters for the younger GAA members while Scór Sinsear caters for adults members.
The national finals of both Scór na nÓg and Scór Sinsear are a wonderful occasion and winning a national title is a tremendous honour for any club.
So, I met the group and we got along alright. I was informed of the rules of the contest- it had to be a ten minute play, with no swearing or drinking or vugalries. It had to touch on Irish cultural themes, the language and it had to be fun.
I was given some past plays to read and thought perhaps it would be better to write something of our own. Enter Conor MacManus and The Pig Exectutives.
There is a group of presently unknown writers in Ireland called The Pig Exectutives. We live in County Leitrim (except for one turn-coat but we’ll get to him in second), we meet monthly at the Glens Art Centre and we bow, scrap, beat our breasts and generally thumb our noses at writer/poet/actor Dermot Healy whom we bring to our monthly meeting to cheer us on and raise an eye brow at our work. Mostly we talk about writing. We called ourselves The Pig Exectutives. And we each have alternative names to go by… I’m www.allthewayhome.
There’s Ms Trotsty, Pearl, Snowball, K.Pig, SaltyPig, Prima Bana, Mucky, Anti-pig (the vegatarian yogi) – just to name a few.
Pearl and K.Pig and I live in south Leitrim, the other pigs all live up in north Leitrim (one or two of them live in Sligo but we let them in cause they’re cute). The three of us meet regularly for the writing chat and egg each other on towards grant submissions and writing deadlines.
So after I decided that what the Kiltubrid Players needed was a new play, I told K.Pig ( aka Conor MacManus) and we set to work writing ElToro. Its a play for a cast of seven (including a bull) set on a farm in lovely Leitrim. There’s the father-Jack Tighe, his son -J.J., the farm hand -Micky the Bowsy, Jack’s wife-Mammy, J.J.’s girlfreind-Patrica, Ramon the Matador and …
…Brian Meehan as the Bull ( it’s a Kiltubrid thing… you wouldn’t understand)
In a nutshell, the son and girlfriend are tired of the rain and the credit crunch and decide to take a trip to Spain to see a proper bull and bullfighter . When the kids leave the father decides to take the bulll by the horns ( proverbially speaking) and he gets himself kitted out with a authentic bullring, a bull the mammy buys on EBay and a a proper matador. The kids come back from thier holidays just in time to see the first bull fight in their own backyard.
Here’s the beginning of Scene 1:
Curtain open: Dad and Mickey and J.J. are hanging on a four bar gate looking into a field. J.J. is bored and always looking at his watch. The other men are concentrating on what’s going on in the field.
Dad– Any sign of him to mend?
Mickey-He’s well improved, well improved.
J.J. – (loud sigh and looks around)
Dad-He’s taking the nuts now.
Mickey- He is. Gobbling them up.
Dad– It’ll put a mighty end on him.
Mickey– It will, it will indeed.
Dad -It’ll give him a mighty roar
Mickey – And a savage roar.
J.J. – A roar? He sounds like a chicken a strangling
Mickey– He does not. He’s got a roar like a tiger so he has.
J.J.-What, a Celtic tiger (he snorts a laugh)
Dad- Now, now son, he’ll be in fine voice once the rain lets up. Just you wait and see.
J.J.-This takes the biscuit. Endless rain, no work, and the only bit a crack is staring across a four bar gate at a lame bull. But I don’t care, soon I’ll be in Seville, (louder) Seville (says it in Spanish) watching a bull that’s good for something, a bull with a bit of fire and not like this useless fecker that couldn’t pull his hoof out of a poach hole.
(Get the drift)
Let me tell you about the Kiltubrid Players. I live in Drumshanbo parish, Kiltubrid is the next parish over the way and up the hill. Kiltubrid is good at their local football but they have never entered in the Scor plays or songs or quizz game or dancing. This is their very first year at it. Everyone is out for a bit of a laugh and just to see what it takes toget through one of these contests. At least thats what they told me when I first got on board. It seems that very different scenerio is actually being played out. There is a nieghbouring parish ( for the sake of all those concern, will not be named… as of yet!) to which our happy band of Kiltubrid’s have married into. It also seems that this same parish are big winners in the auld Scor. All Ireland winners don’t you know. And being winners they do what most winner do- shove it down the throats of everyone they sit at a tabel with. So our dear parishisers of Kiltubrid are killed having to listen to the winners tell they’re story. Hence the Kiltubrid 2009 resolution- get into Scor and if possible, score. They’ll tell you its just for a bit of a laugh, just for fun but honestly they would like nothing better than to beat the pants off that other parish.
So…. the competition is this weekend. March 6th and 7th.We play on Friday night and then there is another set of plays, songs, jokes on the7th. I don’t what’s going to happen, whatever it is, the winners for this region will be announced on Saturday night in Ballinaglara. Then they go on the the Connaught competition and then the All Ireland in Killareny in April.
Which brings me back to The Pig Exectutives and K.Pig, (aka Conor MacManus)
Well everything was rosey in the garden and then it changed and K.Pig and his missus and child moved to County Cork in the winter. K.Pig was still attached to Leitrim, his family is here plus he won a grant for writing from the Leitirm Arts Council so his tail is still in the sty as it t’were. We wrote El Toro in the wee hours of the morning emailling it back and forth over a three week period until we got it to a point of working order.
Funnily enough, his mother ( K. Pig’s that is-Betty Mac) was having her hair done one day and so was our Mammy in the play and she just had to tell Missus Mac about Conor writing a play for Kiltubrid and wasn’t that a fine thing and isn’t he a gem of a writer and sure Mrs Mac didn’t know a thing about this,and oh, she was so pleased to be able to call up the son way in Cork to tell him of her proud news. Imagine finding out how good your son is while having a colour. Its great.
Well there’s no way that our Pig Conor can make it up to see our Friday night show and thats a pity because its a good show and he should seeit. As the Players qwere talking , they let loose from the bag their particlur grievance with the un-named parish and how much they would love to win this round of the competition just to rub their noses into it. They told me about the Connaught final and then the All Ireland being in Killareny which is just a stone’s throw away from Conor in Cork.
” Right so men”, says I,”If Muhammad can’t go to the mountain. Et cetera, etcetera, etcetera”
More on this during the week. Wish us luck!
Thanks for reading