New play ‘Hysteria’ on this week

Photo shows, Eoin O’Keeffe, Niamh Mullarkey, Caolán Moriarty and Lucy Holmes, who penned, directed and act in a new play, Hysteria.

A group of young actors have written, directed and are performing their own play for the first time this week.

Hysteria is an original play by Mullingar-based Chancer Theatre Company.

The newly formed theatre company is made up of Lucy Holmes, Eoin O’Keeffe, Caolán Moriarty and Niamh Mullarkey, a group of 17 and 18-year-olds, who together have written the drama based in 1980s Northern Ireland in the middle of the Troubles.

Hysteria opened at Mullingar Arts Centre yesterday, Wednesday, and continues today, Thursday August 15, and Saturday August 17, at 8pm.

“It was a big undertaking,” says Niamh Mullarkey (18), who is entering her Leaving Cert year at Loreto College in September.

“We knew we wanted to do a play, and I had story ideas on my phone. I was going through them one day and I saw one about a young man in the IRA, but the focus of that story was on his mother and how she was trying to keep him out of trouble.

“I wondered if we could take that idea and write it and adapt it to suit the four of us. I pitched it to the others and we wrote it in this method called “devising” a play. You outline each scene and then improv it, so the four of us went with it and said lines and wrote down what works.”

In just three weeks the four had a play.

Hysteria centres on four young people who become lost in the midst of radicalism.

Ciarán (Caolán Moriarty), under the influence of his best friend, Aaron (Eoin O’Keeffe), becomes indoctrinated by republican ideals, after disappearing without trace for two years.

He returns unexpectedly to his family home, setting in motion a series of events that completely disrupt life for all those around him, including his sister Molly (Lucy Holmes) and his girlfriend Ellie (Niamh Mullarkey).

As they try to prevent him from seeking revenge for past transgressions, the audience witnesses the descent into distrust, paranoia and bitter betrayal, as four individuals are pulled apart to struggle separately and drown alone.

“After years of performing in shows in Mullingar Arts Centre, we decided to form Chancer Theatre Company,” said Lucy Holmes.

“As a cast we desired to tell stories that resonated with us, and to do so we felt writing our own show was our best option.

“We wanted to get under the skin of radicalism, why it happens and how it affects relationships in your lives. We constantly see people being blinded by their own ideals, so we felt as a cast this was a story we needed to tell.

WBeing 17 and 18, this has definitely been one of our biggest challenges to date, but one we were very happy to rise to!”

Eoin and Caolán attend CBS, and also about to enter Leaving Cert year, while Lucy is about to study theatre in Trinity College, Dublin, having attended St Finian’s College.

“We all want to study theatre, it’s the only thing I can I see us all doing,” said Niamh.

More from this Topic