On Trial- A Droichead Youth Theatre Production

Niall! Gibbons! Introducing! Our very special, super good, uber awesome theatre extravaganza, coming to a town near you (presuming you live near Drogheda) from the 9th to the 11th of January in the Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street!

Some months ago, in a DYT Production meeting in a Top-Secret location (Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street, just past the library), it was decided that we would perform the English-language version of Máiréad Ní Ghráda’s An Triail as our winter production. This was not a difficult decision to make, considering the relevance and importance of the events of On Trial. The decision was embraced by the rest of DYT, and we soon set to work.

On Trial deals with the story a young girl, Maura, who becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Living in a small, rural, Irish village Maura is faced with challenges from society, the Church, and her own family. The play deals with the prejudice faced by pregnant, unmarried women in 1960’s Ireland. It was this key issue that made the play a clear choice for our winter production. DYT, with recent productions dealing with issues like homosexuality (The Laramie Project) and consent (Spilled Ink), would continue to tackle relevant, major issues with this production. With recent major inquiries into the Magdalene Laundries (where the protagonist unfortunately finds herself) making headlines, On Trial should highlight this issue and help to open the floor for conversation on such a controversial topic, one which certainly would not have been discussed in the 1960’s.

On Trial will not come without its challenges however. For many of us, On Trial will involve acting methods we are not well-accustomed to. This is quite a serious play, so any moments of humour will have to be well-executed to properly achieve its intended use as comic relief. Áine O’Herlihy and Aisling Kane (The Defense/Prosecution attorneys) will have particularly difficult roles, seeing as they appear throughout the entirety of the play. Anna McLoughlin (Maura) will have an incredibly demanding role, as she is both the protagonist, and she must portray love, grief, anger, hope and hopelessness at different points in the play. The backstage crew too will have a difficult job attempting to emanate 1960’s Ireland through audiovisuals, set design, costume & hair.

We in DYT hope that this play will appeal to a wide range of theatre-goers. Seeing as this play (in its Irish language format) is studied as part of the Leaving Certificate Irish course, we believe that this production would aid the study & understanding of 5th & 6th Year Irish students, while also remaining engaging and interesting. To anyone interested in current affairs or any of the issues discussed, this play would serve as an excellent discussion point without doubt. To anyone who wishes to see a high quality performance in the New Year featuring a fantastic crew and a well-drilled cast, you can’t really go wrong with On Trial!

-Niall “The Gibbster” Gibbons