Friday, October 23, 2015

Reminder: Evelyn and Eunice bringing Shirley Valentine to Kilcullen

Kilcullen people will be very familiar with the drama teaching activities of Evelyn O'Sullivan over the past decade, with her Drama Dynamics operation providing an outlet for, and developing the talents of, many youngsters, writes Brian Byrne.

But now they'll get a chance to see Evelyn acting herself, when she performs the original one-woman version of 'Shirley Valentine' on the stage of Kilcullen's Town Hall Theatre on 29/30 October.

"It's been a while since I trod the boards myself, with time not always being on my side," says Evelyn. "But I've decided to take the jump with my friend Eunice Lavelle, who will be directing the show."

Evelyn and Eunice have formed EvE Productions to put on the famous Willy Russell play, which is about one Shirley Bradshaw, née Valentine, an average Liverpool housewife. Her children have grown yet she is still tied to having her husband Joe’s tea on the table at the same time every night with only the wall to talk to.

"The key line from the show is ‘Most of us die long before we are dead’," Evelyn notes. "But the story of her journey from resigned fatalism to falling in love with the idea of living is brave, poignant and uplifting."

Is she excited? "Yes." Is she scared? "Yes." So why is she doing it? "Well, acting is my first love, and I needed to get back to it. Besides, for the last number of years I've been telling my students to learn their lines, and I guess I want to prove that I can still do it myself."

Evelyn has been acting ever since as a child she attended Maura Currivan's Speech & Drama classes in her native Cork. When she later moved to Dublin, she continued her drama studies, culminating in the achievement of a teaching diploma with the famous Betty Ann Norton school. She didn't go on to teach then, but became very involved with amateur drama, with AIB and the Temple Players.

Three years after moving to Kilcullen, busy at being a full-time mother to her and husband Peter's five children, Evelyn set up Drama Dynamics. Her particular interest is giving youngsters confidence in themselves through drama. "As a child I never had a problem performing in front of people, but I did have a younger sister with whom I was very close, and she was incredibly shy. So I'm always aware of the shy little ones. It's like the kid in school who knows the answer to a question but is afraid to put up a hand. That's the child I want to help, to give them that little bit of confidence."

Now she'll be out front stage again, testing her own confidence with 'Shirley Valentine'. It's the first of many projects Evelyn and Eunice would like to undertake. Tickets are now on sale at €12 from Evelyn at 087 6441504 or Eunice 087 2750418.

NOTE: The Diary first published this one three weeks ago, but we figure it's worth a reminder, and some of you may have missed it.