Wednesday 15th February to Saturday 18th February 2017
Directed by Simon Walton
Orphaned and illegitimate Sive (she rhymes with 'dive') lives with her aunt and uncle in rural Ireland. Sean Dota, an elderly farmer, offers the local match-maker a large sum to arrange her marriage to him. Will this be too much for her aunt and uncle to resist and what will be the consequences?
Seen by over 30,000 people during a sell-out revival at the Abbey Theatre Dublin in 2014, John B Keane's 'Sive' is considered one of the greatest Irish plays of the 20th Century.
Don't miss the opportunity to see this dark, powerful story of greed and passion.
This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Nanna Glavin||Margaret Coles|
|Mena Glavin||Angie McKeown|
|Thomasheen Sean Rua||David Penrose|
|Mike Glavin||Steve Burt|
|Liam Scuab||Ben Tanner|
|Sean Dota||Pete Woodward|
|Pats Bocock||Phil Amor|
|Stage Manager||Janice Halsey|
|Assistant Stage Managers||Sue Dawes and Julie Wood|
|Lighting Design||Phil Hanley|
|Sound Design||Phil Hanley|
|Lighting Operation||Sally Hartley|
|Sound Operation||Jacquie Penrose|
|Set Design||Simon Walton assisted by Julie Wood and David Penrose|
|Programme Editor||Derek Callam|
|Handbill Design||Dan Finch|
|FOH Manager||Craig Parker|
A business trip to Dublin in May 2014, a desire to see an Irish play in Ireland found us at the Abbey Theatre to watch a play we never heard of by an author I'd never come across. The first revelation was the intimacy of what is effectively the national theatre with a stage and the actors almost within touching distance of every seat of the house. The second revelation was the emotional ride we were taken on over the next few hours with some of the most powerful engaging drama I've seen. With the audience rising in one at the end the inevitable result was to direct the play with Bench Theatre.
A play essentially about place, people, and possessions, the setting of early 1950's rural Ireland and the subject of matchmaking may feel quite alien and disconnected to our own experiences in the 21st century. However a quick trawl of the news and we find stories on poverty, gender inequalities, dating agencies, arranged marriages, prostitution and sex slavery which shows that the underpinning message is still as relevant now as it was then.
I hope I have done the words justice and you will get some of the same experience I got when I saw it for the first time.
In John B Keane's story set in rural 1050s Ireland, Sive is a teenager in love with someone eminently more suitable but being forced to marry a much older man for the financial gain of her family. As Sive, Alex Eels is at her most effective when challenging the authority of her guardians and in her ultimate anguish, knowing that the marriage is to be forced upon her.
Bench stalwart David Penrose is also on fine form as Thomasheen Sean Rua, the matchmaker behind the ill-fated pairing and - of all the cast - handles the intricate Irish dialogue with ease.
The wonderfully-faced Margaret Coles gives strong support as Nanna Glavin, Sive's only friend, and Ben Tanner as Sive's true-interest, grieves eloquently at the end. There's a towering performance from Angie McKeown as self-interested aunt Mena who is willing to sacrifice Sive's happiness for her own gain.
Director Simon Walton could encourage a greater variety of pace in his cast, but that's a small gripe in an otherwise good production.