OPERATING out of Red Cross Hall on Cecil Street, The GAFF remains a secluded world of bohemian goings-on of all ages behind high walls. Pinning down the substance to various works by amateur and professional groups and individuals, member Monica Spencer is specific.
“The GAFF is very much Limerick, a collective of performance artists, some of whom are on the board, some whom are very interested in working with community and some are using the place as rehearsal space. So far this year Cecilian Musical Society, County Limerick Youth Theatre and Limerick Youth Theatre have used The GAFF.”
Mayor James Collins launched the season programme there on Tuesday 11, joined by community development groups, artists, The Umbrella Group, writers, actors and the board. More next week on what will unfold into Christmas.
This story concerns Moyross Community Drama working again with playwright Carrie Barrett on her show ‘Bingo!’ which will stage in Belltable late November. It’s a dovetailing between Moyross and Cecil Street for staged shows grown at grassroots.
A support worker with ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services, Barrett emerged as a writer a couple of years back, contributing a storyline to the Moyross play ‘FIVE HOUSES’. Another monologue was shortlisted by an Abbey Theatre mentoring programme, one of five selected from 60 hopeful drama submissions for development in Dublin with a professional director, technical team and rehearsal space.
On to 2018’s ‘Bingo!’ for which The GAFF is producer led by Spencer. “Bingo! is the main play we are working on this year,” she says. “It looks at the dark side of domestic violence within the setting of a bingo hall. Where would you find women from different social backgrounds coming together? Bingo has also to do with the idea of luck and numbers coming up.
“There are 13 characters and two of these are men who are very nice.Very. Or are they?” Pause.
There are further considerations at play in the colourful, theatrical platform of a hectic games hall – how women do or do not support each other in situations such as an abusive relationship.
“There are layers and layers of pain and violence to such a relationship and it is more complicated when associated with children,” children growing into adulthood themselves whilst assimilating a hurtful, hurting family environment.
One of Bingo!’s central roles is Mary, in her 30s who lives with her mother. “She has no child, no relationship, not any great career and does not go out.” The production’s atmosphere, whether the scene be at home or under fluttering lights of town, is one of contained menace. Watch out for the Provident Man and his manipulative wallet and
The great Joan Sheehy directs, she who gave us an exploratory Chapter 2 to ‘An Colleen Bawn’, the inquest and court case. She’s known for site-specific articulation in historic surrounds such as No. 2 Pery Square and Shannon Rowing Club.
Framed by Carrie Barrett, producer Monica Spencer and Joan Sheehy, Moyross Community Drama will pack out their Bingo! hall. Book at venue manager www.limetreetheatre.ie November 28 to 30, at Belltable.