The Big Four plays lets you experience life in 1919 Limerick

The Big Four

Lampróg Theatre have devised four plays titled “The Big Four” directed by Fiona Quinn to take place over the course of one week as part of the National Commemoration of the rescue of Seán Hogan in Knocklong. Picture: Keith Wiseman

The Big Four plays lets you experience life in 1919 Limerick

Is it possible to take a trip back in time and experience life in 1919 Limerick? The Limerick Soviet has just ended, but the following month in May 1919, workers in County Limerick began seizing creameries belonging to the Cleeve Family Business, the primary one being located near the village of Knocklong and one of ‘The Big Four’ has been captured by RIC officers. 

Four new plays, the Big Four, have been devised by Lampróg Theatre to celebrate 1919 centenary events in Limerick.  Lampróg Theatre has been created by participants on County Limerick Youth Theatre’s LEADER training course Expressing Employability, supported by the Arts office of Limerick City and County Council. 

Audience members will get the opportunity to experience one of the most exhilarating escapes in Irish history ‘The Rescue of Seán Hogan from Knocklong Train Station’.

Lampróg Theatre have devised four plays directed by Fiona Quinn to take place over the course of one week as part of the National Commemoration of the rescue of Seán Hogan in Knocklong

Seventeen-year-old Irish Volunteer Sean Hogan is en route to be executed in Cork when the other three ‘Big Four’ members unexpectedly intercept the train in Knocklong.

Over the course of the week, audience members will be able to see behind the scenes of this intricate escape plan, “the special thing about these plays is the history they are founded upon. Characters we devised are based on information that was given to us in interviews with their descendants.” David Tynan exclaims.

“One of the most exciting things for me as a writer is the fact that we are playing the ancestors of local people, I think it’s a great way to have the community involved and give an authenticity to the events we are dramatising,” said Claire Moroney.

 “All participating school pupils have engaged in free drama workshops on 1919 themes.  In this era of ‘fake news,’ the variety of resulting performances will give young people the opportunity to interrogate different aspects of The Rescue story through the safe space of the drama festival and enhance their critical thinking skills.” Said, director Fiona Quinn.

The first performance “The Dance”  will take place on Sunday 12th May at 7 pm at the Knocklong Community Centre. The Dance is an interactive performance which invites the audience to participate in a 1919 fundraiser dance for the Big Four where they meet the protagonists of The Rescue and witness the arrest of Sean Hogan by the RIC.

The second performance “The Plan” on Tuesday 14th May at 7 pm in the Galbally Community Centre. The Plan is a site-specific performance in Galbally which explores the complex planning and domestic detail of those involved in the rescue of Sean Hogan.  The daily lives of the RIC, the dispatches of the Cumin na nBan and the rescue from the train itself are dramatised in the homes and hostelries surrounding Galbally square in this once-off performance. 

The third performance “The Escape” will take place Thursday 16th May at 6.30pm starting Knocklong Community Centre. The Escape is a 7.7km promenade theatre performance that invites the audience to follow the Big Four, as wounded – shot in the lung, neck and arm, they flee from Knocklong train station,  trekking to safety across the fields and up the hill to Glenlara.  There will be four performances en-route, detailing the history of this epic race for freedom.

 The last performance “The Trail” is set to take place on Sunday 19th May at 1 pm in Knocklong Community Centre. The Trial is the final play in the Big Four Series performed by Lampróg Theatre. It highlights the injustice of the arrest and execution of Paddy Maher, an innocent man, hung by the British in retribution for the Rescue of Sean Hogan from Knocklong train station.  Based on the court transcripts of the trial and accounts from Paddy Maher’s descendants, this is a poignant and moving story of a travesty of justice and the triumph of might over right.   

Lampróg Theatre have been devising scripts since September 2018. They focus on creating a theatrical journey through the villages of Knocklong, Glenbrohane and Galbally in remembrance of The Rescue of Sean Hogan from Knocklong train station, and have four site-specific plays for the centenary celebration 12th – 19th May 2019. Memories that were suppressed or almost lost are rekindled and retold in the communities where the rich cultural nuances of The Rescue resonate in the landscape.

The Big Four refers to Irish Volunteers Sean Tracey, Dan Breen, Seamus Robinson and Sean Hogan. The four men who were involved in the Soloheadbeg shootings continue the struggle towards Irish independence going on the run in Limerick and Tipperary. The members of Lampróg Theatre ascertained the historical movements of their characters through accounts of the rescue from relatives and descendants of those who were involved. Scenes in the play are based on an anecdotal memory told through these interviews. The Cast will be performing four plays.

Sunday 12th May 7 pm:  The Dance – Knocklong Community Centre

The Dance is an interactive performance which invites the audience to participate in a 1919 fundraiser dance for the Big Four where they meet the protagonists of The Rescue and witness the arrest of Sean Hogan by the RIC. Performed by Lampróg Theatre  

Tuesday 14th May 7 pm:  The Plan – Galbally Community Centre

The Plan is a site-specific performance in Galbally which explores the complex planning and domestic detail of those involved in the rescue of Sean Hogan.  The daily lives of the RIC, the dispatches of the Cumin na nBan and the rescue from the train itself are dramatised in the homes and hostelries surrounding Galbally square in this one-off performance.  Performed by Lampróg Theatre

Thursday 16th May 6.30pm: The Escape – Starting Knocklong Community Centre

The Escape is a 7.7km promenade theatre performance that invites the audience to follow the Big Four, as wounded – shot in the lung, neck and arm, they flee from Knocklong train station,  trekking to safety across the fields and up the hill to Glenlara.  There will be four performances en-route, detailing the history of this epic race for freedom. Performed by Lampróg Theatre 

Sunday 19th May 1 pm: The Trial – Knocklong Community Centre

The Trial is the final play in the Big Four Series performed by Lampróg Theatre. It highlights the injustice of the arrest and execution of Paddy Maher, an innocent man, hung by the British in retribution for the Rescue of Sean Hogan from Knocklong train station.  Based on the court transcripts of the trial and accounts from Paddy Maher’s descendants, this is a poignant and moving story of a travesty of justice and the triumph of might over right.   

Prices are €10 with €5 concession. Written by David Tynan and Rachel Jones

Email  [email protected] or call Fiona Quinn on 086 824 6915 for more information

 

For more information, click here.

To read about last year play, click here 

For more stories on youth theatre in Limerick, click here

 

 

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