Last weekend Fermanagh Writers participated in the FLive Festival, performing on Friday afternoon at the Ardhowen Theatre and on Saturday lunchtime at the Bridge Centre in the Presbyterian Church. Both sessions were lively and members of the audience praised the performers afterwards.
Our Chair, Tony Brady, tell us about the performance at the Ardhowen Theatre:
Friday 3rd October 2014 was a day for me to take a step back as John Monaghan had organised a line up of 13 from our poets and prose writers. I arrived early at what must be one of the most beautifully positioned theatres in the whole of Ireland. The Long Bar was the venue and I joined the audience while Bob Baird, of The Flive organising committee, finessed the essential in situ arrangements and made the Introduction.
First to read was John Monaghan: his two poems, Hobnobs and Wisdom Tooth, were remembered mouth watering pleasure and painful surgery. Bob Baird then regaled with An Australian Tale – not a shaggy dog story, more a black sheep fable. A change of mood came with Jenny Brien introducing a classical Irish mythic tone with her saga The Calf. Our imaginations were then carried to France by John Llewellyn James as a Paris weekend there, was described in a risqué poem Elodie. Next up came Kitty: shy, retiring, she was propelled to the lectern by collective encouragement and gave an assured performance of two poems: “On the back of his phone call…” and These Hands.
Kathy May followed with a questioning poem – Betrothal – seeking undying promises, and an emotionally lacerating poem, Inside of A Cell, invoking scenes of mental illness. Humour was expected and welcome as May Morris followed intoning Hey Diddle Diddle with its subtle hint of drug taking and a contrasting taste of cheeky bedroom hanky-panky in Kathy and Liam.
A mix of nature, dreams, poultry and hints of les liaisons
dangereuse/amoureuse were poetry conveyed in 4 poems recited by Teresa Kane. Pinned viewed a butterfly trapped in a jar. Wake Me was a call to be aware of beauty in natural surroundings while Porcelain Eggs recalled, not without a sting, tactile seeking and finding. Finally, her poem Shadows characterised a sensual, coquette, temptress; all come and get me; vampish but seductively ambivalent while being attractive/repellent simultaneously.
An example of theatrical Military Action Poetry was next presented by “Corporal” Tony Viney. His Rudyard Kipling inspired monologue Fuzzy Wuzzy blended 19th century British army discipline with contemporary Taliban activity in present day Afghanistan. Very appropriate for a theatre event, Tony was in army uniform, parade ground boots and topped by an authentic battle field helmet. There’s a medal (yet uncast) for this performance reprised from the Ballinamallard Festival.
Barrack square pitch changed to dulcet toned level when Trish Bennett recited her funny Cleaning with Parrot’s Help and contrasted it with an ironic funereal poem Boxed Up. She continued with Magic Aid and completed with Sweet Spot – a poem which she could have just composed on the spot; so redolent it was of the view visible from the room’s panoramic windows.
One of our prize winning poets, Mary McElroy no less, and in person from the lectern, commanded the audience’s rapt attention with varying emotional and visual themes in 3 of her poems: Hands – The Uninvited – Blind. William Shakespeare was next: in a manner of speaking that is, for Jennie Brien skilfully reworked into modern, innovative idiom 4 sonnets by the immortal Bard. Lots more favourite and famous poets were liberally name-checked in Frankie McPhillips original vignette Beautiful Bundoran. His seaside reverie/elegy contained a skilfully interwoven pastiche of W.B Yeat’s poem The Lake Isle of Innishfree.
Any further thoughts about “I will arise and go now…” were banished as Dianne Trimble recited her amusing poem Yer Man followed by But I’m Here. Then a change of tone in Barbed Boundary, subtle hints of a rural interface there. Two further offerings were When Haymaking’s Done and the second, one of her published poems: The Thing on a String.
This appreciative member was then called from the reserves bench, and recited three poems from Fermanagh Writer’s Seamus Heaney Tribute booklet by three contributors who were unable to attend. Death of a Hero by Ken Ramsey. The Unexpected by Rosemary Bland. Looking Upstream by John D. Kelly.
John Monaghan’s arrangement of the overall variety of contributions was inspired. Among the audience were the Director of the Flive Festival, Evelyn Hassard accompanied by Rosie & Nicholas Watts. I just cannot resist by ending this overview with a touch of luvviedom: Darlings! You were wonderful! Simply Divine!