Doonbeg Drama Group present ‘Fools For Love’ by Sam Shepard

Setting

The edge of the Mojave Desert. 1980s.

Synopsis

Love hurts, quite literally in this play about the battling lovers, May and Eddie whose unbreakable bond of love and hate have made their lives a living hell. Into this scenario comes Martin who is May’s tentative suitor. The Old Man may not be physically in the action but psychically he’s all over Eddie and May.

Cast

May Anne Marie Doyle
Eddie Ken Blowers
Martin Dave Hanley
The Old Man Charles Killeen

Crew

Director Mary J. Egan
Stage Managers Laura Capon
Margaret Dillon
Set Design Paddy O Grady
Mary J. Egan
Lighting Pat Ahern
Margaret Ahern
Elaine Tubridy
Sound Laura Keane
Ken Blowers
Make Up Bernie Capon
Laura Capon
Crew John Keane
Paul McCarthy
Roy Capon
Paddy Doyle
Murty Doyle
Bernard Lysaght
Siobhan Garvey
Colm McInerney
Nuala Shanahan

About The Group

Doonbeg Drama Group have presented 33 full length plays since 1981 and have been regulars on the circuit since 1990 qualifying for the All Ireland on many occasions. 2017 proved to be our most successful year to date when we won the All Ireland Confined Finals in Tubbercurry with ‘The Night Alive’ by Conor McPherson.

Summary of Adjudicator’s Comments

Sam Shepard was nominated for a Pulitzer prize for this play, an exploration of a “possessive sexual relationship”, noted Festival Adjudicator Imelda McDonagh. Describing Shepard as “one of the visionaries of US theatre”, the adjudicator said he challenged American archetypes and such themes as the disparity between myth and reality.

Shepard wrote ‘Fool For Love’ shortly after breaking up with his wife and this work is fuelled by both desire and despair. In the film version of the play, Shepard himself played the role of Eddie. The play could be described as “part allegory, part romance and part tragedy”.

It explores a dark incestuous relationship (between Eddie and his half-sister May) “bound by blood and lust”. The confrontational nature of the play involves “bone-shaking violence”.

A play about confinement, about being “trapped in a vicious cycle”, it challenges the company to deliver the emotional confusion and the voracious passion of this violent amorous couple. Such powerful feelings, stirred up by their “fragmented and broken stories”, also require “delicate handling”.

The adjudicator described the setting as a “low rent, seedy motel” which was “drab and functional”. Yet she wondered if the sense of heat of the location – the edge of a dessert – could have been more effectively shown. The bed and the table provided two “strong acting areas”. Due to the frequency of banging doors, a “sturdy set” was required and was achieved by this group.

In relation to costumes, Eddie’s dust coloured jeans were highlighted favourably. As for the lighting, aspects such as the flashing neon sign were praised but the adjudicator questioned if the stage was overlit at times. Sound effects relating to the arrival of cars and horses, and Eddie’s truck being set on fire, were well done.

The Director (Mary J. Egan) oversaw “furious and past paced” action, where the leads were like “two caged animals just waiting to tear other apart”. Given the high-octane action, effective use of silence and pauses are important and this production delivered in this regard. The red dress sequence and the scene where Martin is hovering outside the bathroom door were among the moments to be commended.

Accents were “well handled” and vocal clarity was good, although the adjudicator felt that when dialogue was at high volume, nuances were lost on occasion. The interaction of past and present (when Old Man intervened) worked very well and was “integrated with fluidity”.

The two lead roles in this play are extremely demanding and both actors were “very committed” throughout, the adjudicator stated. May (Anne Marie Doyle) was “passionate, driven and mercurial” but at times, the adjudicator felt her “feeble” side could have been made more evident. Overall, though, this actress showed “great energy and intensity”.

Eddie (played by Ken Blowers) was a “powerful presence” on stage and he allowed his physicality to dominate. He was praised for the recollection of walking with his father in years past, and the sense of working in the outdoors that he brought to the role.

Martin (Dave Hanley) was “tentative” and he showed a “lovely hesitancy” in his body language. He delivered some comic moments in an “understated” way and, overall, this actor was lauded for “really inhabiting the role”.

Old Man (Charles Killeen) was praised for his “rich deep voice” which added a gravitas to the character. He relished delivering his side of the story and rationalising his actions.

In summary, Ms McDonagh said this production was an “adrenaline-filled exposé of lust and passion” and the group brought plenty of “emotional urgency” to the action.