1974: Bells of Hell [Program]
GAIETY THEATRE DUBLIN
Commencing Thursday 10th October, 1974
NOEL PEARSON in association with the DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL
Directed by DONAL FARMER
(By kind permission of RTE)
Designed by PAT MOLLOY
THE BELLS OF HELL
AN EVOCATION IN SONG AND STORY OF THE SPIRIT OF BRENDAN BEHAN
A LOOK AT LIFE AND LETTERS
The genealogy of "The Hostage"; Writing for the Theatre; Bás Oscar Wilde; The Anglo-Irish; Behan v. Kavanagh; Horsemanship; The Confirmation Suit; The Benefit of Borstal.
ADHARCA FADA AGUS BA THAR LEAR
(Faraway cows and long horns)
The Captains and The Kings; Split!; Saints and Scholars; Rambles in Eirinn and Gambols abroad; A Woman of No Standing; Testament; The Bells of Hell. with MORE SONGS
Show devised by Niall Toibin from the writings of BRENDAN BEHAN and from personal recollections.
Additional material by the entire populations of Dublin, London, Paris, Toronto, New York, and all points east and west.
Songs chosen by Ronnie Drew, Niall Toibin and Donal Farmer.
Directed by Donal Farmer*
Design by Pat Molloy†
The part of Teresa from "The Hostage" is spoken by Miss Bernadette McKenna†
John Curran: Musical Director
Louis Stewart: Guitar, Mandolin
Dónal Lunny: Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Bouzka
For Noel Pearson:
Stage Director: Val Griffin
Stage Manager: Sheila Cover
For Gaiety Theatre:
Stage Manager: Paddy Jones
Assistant Stage Manager: George Mcfall
Chief Electrician: Sean Burke
Lighting By Bourke Strand Electric Ltd.
Costume Coat by Bourkes of Dame Street.
Coca Cola: Bannow Bottlers Ltd.
*By kind permission of RTE.
†By kind permission of the Abbey Theatre.
Ronnie Drew says he is not a Dubliner at all: "I was born and grew up in Dun Laoghaire, and no true Dubliner would accept that at all!" Incredible though it might seem to fans of his distinctive gravel voice, Ronnie began life as a boy soprano in a choir. That ended when is voice broke at the usual age, and there was a gap in his musical career until he was about nineteen.
Ronnie then began to learn about, folk music, and began playing the guitar. It was merely a hobby, however, since Ronnie was earning his living in a number of ways, none of them remotely connected with music: dishwasher, electrician, draper's assistant, and telephone operator. Perhaps the most bizarre of his jobs was that of teacher of English — in Spain.
That period of his life taught Ronnie a great deal about Flamenco and classical guitar, and it was after his return from Spain that he met Barney McKenna, and the nucleus of The Dubliners was formed.
Ronnie was with the group for more than ten years, and during that period, his name became a household word wherever in Europe folk music is popular. He went solo earlier this year.
"The Bells of Hell" is not Ronnie's stage debut, since he was in the highly successful "Richard's Cork Leg". He has also hosted his own television series.
Niall Toibin is a Corkman, son of an Irish scholar and teacher. His professional career began with the Radio Eireann Players, and he has been a sports commentator and TV announcer (doing both of them badly, he claims).
In 1967, Niall created the role of "Andy" in Brian Friel's "Lovers" at the Gate Theatre, and later won acclaim on Broadway in the same role. He repeated his Broadway success in "Borstal Boy" for which he was nominated for the coveted Tony Award. He has had two highly successful one-man shows, and has appeared in "Waiting for Godot" (with Peter O'Toole) at the Nottingham Playhouse. His television series, "If the Cap Fits" was an instant success, and later transferred to the Olympia Theatre and to Cork as "Up Em All".
He has also appeared in Canada, and his most recent success was "Twigs" at the Dublin Gate Theatre. Niall Toibin is married, and he and his wife live in Dundrum Co Dublin with their five children.
NOEL PEARSON (The Producer)
Noel Pearson was born in Dublin. His productions include the Henry Mancini-Elmer Bernstein Concert in the Gaiety Theatre in 1970; Niall Toibin's two one-man shows, "Confusion" and "Confusion Again" in 1971; Wesley Burrowes' "One Man's Mate" at the Eblana Theatre in 1971; Behan's "Richard's Cork Leg" in Dublin, Cork, and at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1872; "Less O That … and More Of the Other" at the Gaiety Theatre; "Borstal Boy" at the Cork Opera House; "Up Em All" at the Olympia Theatre … all of them in 1973. His most recent productions have been "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' currently at the State Theatre, Phibsborough, and previously at the Gaiety and the Olympia, and in Cork and Limerick; and "Twigs" by George Furth, with Gemini Productions at the Gate Theatre. His productions in this year's Theatre Festival were 'Crock', and 'Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris' at the Eblana Theatre.
DONAL FARMER (The Director)
Donal Farmer is a Corkman — hardly surprising with a father from Fair Hill and a mother from Blackpool. Educated at the North Monastery, he was awarded a scholarship to U.C.C. in 1956 where, apart from taking a B.A. Degree, he was deeply involved in productions with the College Choral and Dramatic Societies, Everyman Theatre, Compantas Chorcai, and the Southern Theatre Group. After brief flirtations with an M.A. on Middle English Love Lyrics, teaching in Cork, and goat-herding in Staffordshire, he joined RTE as a trainee Producer/Director in 1964 and was trained at the BBC in London. He has specialised in the production of plays with RTE and in January 1972 was appointed Head of TV Drama there. He resigned as Head of Drama in January 1974.