Double feature showcases theatre students’ summer trip to Ireland

By Nathan Cobb

Staff Writer

Each year UWF theatre professor Scott Hudson leads a group of students overseas for an “Ireland Experience.” It immerses them in a different way of life and helps theirs subsequent performances project Irish culture.

“You’re only as good as what resides in you,” Hudson said about his students’ talent. He said that while he could teach students ways to develop their acting, true talent could not be taught.

With the help of actor and director Paddy Behan, former head of the Carlow Theatre in Ireland, Hudson directed the double feature of “Riders to the Sea” and “A Pound on Demand” The switch from tragedy to comedy was impressive and demonstrated the students’ passion for acting.

“Riders to the Sea” illustrated lives in rocky, ocean-sided Ireland.

The story opens in a cottage scene of a family who recently lost two sons. The aged mother, Maurya, still grieving the loss. With the opportunity of the sea still calling, another son dies. The death of Bartley is first realized by his sisters Cathleen, and Nora, who are sent a package with a curious shirt inside. The scene ends dramatically as Maurya learns the horrible news.

“A Pound on Demand” however, had a far lighter subject.

The first scene opens on the opposite side of the island, in a post office that has a lively receptionist. Two men who have apparently spent some time at a pub enter seeking a form to claim “A Pound on Demand.” After stumbling through the office, Jerry and Sam finally get the form, but are too impaired to fill it out correctly. Inevitably, the police are called and the two men leave. The scene closes as Jerry and Sam hilariously come back to the office and find a policeman flirting with the receptionist.

The Theatre Department chose the two different pieces to show the rich variety of Ireland. “The thing I took most from the experience was the vast terrain,” said stage manager Eleanor Sweeney. The opportunity to visit the living situations similar to those of the play’s characters helped the actors get deeper into character and noticeably brought Irish culture into their performance.