REVIEW OF THE PLAY -`CHALK DUST`
By Patricia Doole
Writer Noel Monahan
Director Padraic McIntyre
Venue The Ramor Theatre Virginia County Cavan
Date 5th-7th December 2019
`Chalk Dust` is an adaption of Noel Monahan`s dramatic poem of the same name published by salmon Poetry in 2018. For the stage performance Noel adapted the poem and gave the script to Padraic.
It`s an epic dramatic, poetic telling of a year in the life of the students, in Kilnacrott Catholic Boarding School. Outside Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan in the 1960`s, as told through the eyes of former student Noel Monahan.
I attended the performance on the second night of the play, the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation. Noel was in the lobby making everyone very welcome and delighted with the turnout. Upon entering the theatre seating area, the first thing caught the eye was the stage setting. It was very effective and mimilistic. The stained glass window effect on the back wall of the stage helped set the theme. Also the pulpit directly in front of the windows indicated an important link to the overall setting. The general background was black which was lit very effectively using overhead lighting, colours adding to the mood and tone throughout the play.
Paul Marron (actor) opened the play as the narrator (i.e Noel Monahan poet)
Under the direction of Padraic McIntyre `Chalk Dust` was brought to life. He used the dramatic poetic prose of the poem. In my opinion a true depiction of the actual poem made into a play, a unique basis using a stage setting. Thoroughly entertaining performance.
The cast delivered a wonderful show, clear voice and adopted roles, a real rewarding production of verse true to the poem. The direction of lights enhanced the overall mood and scenes. The music which was in tone and era of the time. Thanks to the detail of the costume design team, all was authentic and in keeping to the setting.
The director wasn`t afraid to deal with the issues that would be seen within a boarding school setting. Where trapped male energy erupts under the strains of collective living, such as mischiefs. This was directed brilliantly using dance, music, movement, dialogue and narration. A wonderful play the whole family to watch.
Overall feedback form audience, was a real success for everyone involved in the play, there was a standing ovation every night.
Thanks to Poet Noel Monahan, Director Padraig McIntyre and the whole cast of `Chalk `Dust`.