Carrick-on-Suir theatre lovers got a rare chance to see a play written, directed and acted by a local actor and playwright this month when Robert Power staged his one-act drama "A Story of Destiny" for two nights at Brewery Lane.
The 36 year-old actor, musician and playwright, who hails from Kickham Street, Carrick-on-Suir, brought his one-man show home to the place where his love of the theatre first blossomed as a teenager at Brewery Lane Drama Group's youth theatre workshops.
"A Story of Destiny" is an intense, engrossing and thought provoking hour of theatre that Robert Power has put his heart and soul into writing, directing, producing and acting. The play centres on an unhinged and volatile man confined to an institution, which for him seems more like a sanctuary where he can listen to his music, the birds singing and dabble in art.
The audience gradually learns why he has ended up there and Robert shows great skill as a writer, story teller and actor in conveying to the audience the dark and light sides of the character, his observations on life as well as unveiling the grim tale behind his incarceration. This reviewer was left with questions and differing possible interpretations about his motivation and actions at the end of the show, which I suppose is Robert Power's intention.
Another highlight of the production is the set depicting the institution bedroom where the lead character lives. It was created by Waterford based Andrew "Chewie" Cusack and features some artistic drawings by Robert's girlfriend Electra Grant.
Robert, who trained at the Gaiety School of Acting, said he was delighted and proud to bring "A Story of Destiny" to Brewery Lane and overwhelmed to get a standing ovation from the audience on its opening night at the theatre. He also enjoyed talking to people in the Brewery Lane tearooms afterwards and getting their reaction.
He previously staged a pared back version of his one-act drama at Brewery Lane last year without a set and only a suitcase as a prop, after trying out the play in the same way at Under St Marks theatre in Greenwich Village in New York City and at a small theatre in Los Angeles when he was visiting the US.
The positive reaction he received from those shows encouraged him to develop a full scale production, which he now hopes to show to theatre audiences in every county in Ireland. He believes there is a great appetite for the theatre in towns like Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles around the county and he believes these are the types of places the show will do well.
He premiered his full production of "A Story of Destiny" at Garter Lane in Waterford last month and it was staged at Cleere's Theatre in Kilkenny before coming to Robert's hometown.
The 175 seater Jerome Hynes Theatre at the National Opera House in Wexford is the show's next stop.
The show is currently being independently funded by Robert himself and he is hoping the exposure it gets in his tour of regional theatres will attract Arts Council funding for the production. If not, he still plans to press ahead in bringing a "Story of Destiny" to as wide an audience as possible.
When his play finishes touring, Robert plans to return to his other passion as a musician. He plays the piano and guitar. He is considering putting together a seven-piece band as his next venture.