In celebration of 75 years in business, An Taibhdhearc theatre in Galway, the national Irish-language theatre, announced a competition for new writing named after the writer, actor and playwright Walter Macken. Three of the prize-winning plays are published in this book.
Jude by Micheál Ó Conghaile centres on a dysfunctional family with Jude as the main character, a mother and wife who exhibits little warmth or compassion. She tyrannizes her family, and her relationships with her husband, mother and daughter are all at breaking point. Her life has been spent campaigning for women's rights to the detriment of her home life but it slowly becomes apparent that this fervor stems from a dark secret that Jude has carried for many years. The play is a compelling exploration of the dynamics of family relations and the destructiveness of secrecy. It is testament to the playwright's ability to create plausible characters and scenarios which first came to light in his first play, Cúigear Chonamara, described by The Irish Times as ‘a thought-provoking and stylistic play by a writer at the height of his powers'.
Gaeilgeoir Deireanach Charna is Breandán Ó hEaghra's first play, and reveals a budding new talent in Irish theatre. Tommy is the last Irish-speaker in Carna and he is expecting a visit from the Minister for the Gaeltacht, who will present him with a medal honouring his status. Bitter rivalry ensues, however, when it becomes clear that he may not in fact have legitimate claim to the status of last Irish-speaker, and a group of unusual characters brings humour and uproar to the plot!
Incubus is a powerful play by Caitríona Ní Chonaola, set in a psychiatric hospital. Róisín, the play's only character, is a tortured and despairing soul who is terrorized by nightmares. In a review in The Irish Times the play was described as ‘both intimate and harrowing. ... Ní Chonaola has shown enough talent to mark her out as one to watch in the future'.