Encore Productions set to return to the stage in Dundalk’s An Táin

An Táin Arts Centre’s resident theater group Encore Productions is proud to be back with its spectacular adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Having already tackled the powerful “Macbeth” and the philosophical twists of “The Tempest”, these veteran Rehabcare Dundalk actors are more than ready to go wild and enjoy the Bard’s “Frolic in the Forest” comedy.

Shakespeare’s classic comedy of confusion has all its lovers in a tangle. Refusing to obey her father, Hermia flees into the forest with her true love Lysander. With abandoned fiancé Demetrius and his abandoned girlfriend Helen hot on their heels, it was never going to be easy – but when Oberon, the Fairy King and his cheeky sidekick Puck cast a spell on the lovers, things really get out of hand.

Meanwhile, the Mechanics – rigged workers turned novice actors – prepare their “entertainment” for the big wedding.
This comedy of errors seems doomed when their star performer “Bottom” finds himself transformed into a donkey and head over heels in love with Titania – the queen of the fairies!

For their retelling of the tale, Encore added an extra dimension in the form of ‘The Shadows’ – from the spaces between the trees and beyond the bright moon itself, these dark silhouettes weave their spells upon mortals and faeries alike. .

Actor Martin Hanley proves his versatility playing not only ‘Egeus’ – the father of the unwitting bride – but also ‘Flute’ one of the mechanics.

He’s sure audiences will get a lot of laughs at the mechanical antics, but promises there’s plenty of magic and romance too!
Anita Guest will play her daughter ‘Hermia’. She stands up to her father – runs away to be with the man she truly loves. For local legend Anita, this play is simply a great comedy that will lift everyone’s spirits!

The remaining cast includes Oliver Hanratty, Olivia McGinnity, Rodger Zyro, Mary Francis McAteer, Dolores McKeever, Sandra Shields, Jamie Linden, David Coyle, Paddy Durnin and Melissa Fox.

Historically, productions from this group have featured much larger casts emphasizing participation and inclusion while striving to maintain the highest possible artistic standards.

In recent years, a smaller cast has taken the stage, allowing those involved to shoot some of these more compact productions for the first time. These small numbers worked well during the Covid pandemic when social distancing put particular pressures on theater users.

Now that the restrictions are loosened somewhat, Encore Productions has sought to strike a balance by having the 12 stage actors joined by 12 additional actors who have created a series of shorts that will be incorporated as projections into the show.
The filmmaking process included a varied series of artistic workshops.

First, Bridge Street Studio-based artist Orlaith Cullinane led the group through the print and collage processes – building up a rich stock of forest, animal and nighttime imagery that would serve backdrop to the videos created by the actors in collaboration with visionary filmmaker Dara McCluskey. .

Green screen techniques were used to transport the action into a magical realm born from the actors’ etchings and drawings.
The third and final part of the puzzle to be put together is a soundscape of music and special sound effects created by participants during workshops with innovative composer and sound designer Eoin Hannaway.

Liam O’Reilly enjoyed working with Dara and Orlaith but absolutely loved making music with Eoin – making sounds with branches and leaves to be part of the soundtrack. Therese Baxter also found the sound workshops fascinating but had a lot of fun making the leaf and flower prints with Orlaith.

Alongside Liam and Therese in the films are Nikki Cormican, Brendan O’Shea, Lauren Murphy, Mairead McBride, Stephen Mannison, Callum O’Brennan, Gavin Holmes, Christopher McKevitt and Moninna McCarthy.
Blackrock’s own Eileen Johnston will weave her usual magic, Oberon and Titania, Puck and Cobweb in all their fairy finery.

As always, Jason Kelly will be in the light box as the show is directed by Sandy Sneddon assisted by stage favorites Grainne O’Hanlon and Rachel Tinniswood who also take on management and performance roles.

Encore Productions is delighted to welcome Alex Tumuye in his very first stage role as “Quince”, the leader of the Mechanics!
If we ever needed the escape of a big night at the theater, we need it now, so gather family and friends and book your tickets today for the most magical show this season!

Show times are 8pm Tuesday 4th and Thursday 6th October – tickets €8.50 (plus 1.50 booking fee) and a matinee at 11am Wednesday 5th October – tickets €3.50 (plus 1.50 booking fee) .
Tickets available only at the box office on 0429332332/www.antain.ie

Marjorie N. McClure