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"The Broken Jug"
at the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival

Adjudicators Offer Praise, Criticism to 'Broken Jug'

Tara Players' entry in this year's Acting Irish International Theatre Festival won general praise, but specific criticism of its staging, fom the three adjudicators.

"This is a fascinating play, one I didn't know at all, and I'm very glad I had the opportunity . . . to see it," said Ross Manson, artistic director of the Toronto company Volcano. "What a lovely evening, really delightful," said Diana Belshaw, Co-ordinator of the Theatre Performance Program at Humber Collage. Sarah Stanley, co-artistic director of Die-in-Debt Theatre, complimented the actors. "All of you were really clear about what you were doing. And . . . I was so impressed with how much you understood the language and we didn't hear the actual structuring of the text (written in iambic pentameter). That was really excellent."

The adjudicators were not satisfied however with the staging that forced principal actors, often placed downstage centre, to play upstage to the rest of the cast. And they found activity among the spectators and litigants in the court scenes to draw focus frequently from the central action.

The big winner at this year's festival was Aisling Productions of Calgary's Frugal Comforts. The play was named best play and garnered awards for Martin Kelly and Kenny McCullagh as best actor and supporting actor. Deirdre Halferty received a special adjudicator's prize for directing. This is the second year in a row that Eamonn Kelly's Frugal Comforts was named best play. The Innisfree Theatre of Boca Raton, Florida took the award in Chicago, and, based on our favourable impression of that performance, the Tara Players mounted our own production own at the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.

The other award winners in Toronto were Tena May Gallivan of Na Fianna Irish Theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota, as best actress in the role of Mary in Tom Murphy's Bailegangaire and Vera Kelly of the Gaelic Park Players of Chicago, who received a special adjudicator's prize for her role as Bridie Lavin in Michael Carey's Thy Will Be Done. The other award winners, from the Toronto Irish Players production of The Steward of Christendom, are mentioned above.

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