I am Some Mum Power Mum

Letterkenny Musical Society will present the outrageous “Nine to Five” to the boards of An Grianán Theatre next week.  This is the first production of the hit musical in the North West.

This wonderful, heartwarming and funny tale of three amazing women is being brought to us by a cast of equally brilliant local women.

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Three secretaries turn the tables on their boss in an office driven by chauvinism.  The film starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Over 20 years later, it was adapted for the musical stage, with Dolly writing a number of new songs, combining country with rock and roll, along with some big band swing and beautiful ballads.

For lovers of the film, the story will be familiar. Indeed, large sections of dialogue are unchanged.

Nicola Shields plays Violet, Rachel Akkoç plays Judy, and Ciara Gallagher takes on the challenge of channelling Dolly as she brings Doralee to the stage.

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Rachel, Ciara and Nicola in rehearsals

Maria Rushe plays Roz, Laura Harvey plays Hart’s wife Missy, while Mariosa Bryce, Andrea Logue and Lorraine Porter are Kathy, Maria and Margaret.

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DW spoke to 5 of the ladies involved in the production on and off the stage; the 3 leading ladies, the Co-Director and the Choreographer.

 

Nicola Shields plays Violet.

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Nicola excels as Violet

Nicola is wife to Johnny & Mum to 2 beautiful furbabies, Belle & Seve.  She teaches Modern languages at Mulroy College, Milford. Nicola has been a member of LMS since 1999 & has been involved in every production since then, playing various leading roles over the years.
Nicola said, “I’m very excited to be part of 9 to 5 & very much looking forward to bringing Violet to life next week . Great to be involved in a show that offers 3 leading roles to ladies over 40 !!”

 

 

 

Ciara Gallagher plays Doralee

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Ciara has morphed into Doralee. She even has the giggle perfected!

Ciara is a primary teacher in Carrigart. She is married to James and is a mother of four.  She has made the role of Doralee her own and is loving playing the infamous character played by Dolly Parton herself in the movie version.   

Ciara said “Doralee is a wonderful character; she is sassy and feisty, funny and vulnerable. I feel very lucky to play such a strong female role, and luckier still to be involved in a show that highlights women’s issues in such a positive and uplifting way, with super-talented fellow cast members. This really is a show not to be missed!”

 

 

 

Rachel Akkoç plays Judy.

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Rachel is beautiful as vulnerable Judy

Rachel hails from Dublin, but considers herself to be ‘adopted Donegal’, having moved to Letterkenny in the early 90s. She has two sons, Ziya and Zana, with her Turkish husband, Ejder. Rachel works in the public service by day, but her real love is performing. The stage has been her spiritual home for all of her 45 years. She is a trained dancer, an accomplished vocalist and has taken on countless diverse acting roles over the years. 
‘The role of Judy in 9 to 5 is one that I’m relishing. She starts out downtrodden, but having returned to the workforce, and with the help of her feisty co-workers, she gradually regains her mojo and becomes a strong, empowered and self-assured woman. I love portraying that metamorphosis.’

 

 

 

Roz

Maria Rushe is hilarious as Roz

Maria Rushe plays Roz.

Donegal Woman columnist Maria is married to Emmet and they have two little Drama Queens who inspire her blog, The S-Mum.  She teaches English & Drama in Coláiste Ailigh and has been a member of the LMS since 2004.  Having choreographed past shows, she now directs the show alongside Donal Kavanagh.  Maria loves the stage and has played many roles with LMS.

Maria said “Playing Roz is so much fun. She is clumsy and awkward and misses the point in so many ways. She loves Hart desperately, but has a very different journey to the other ladies. Roz is an intricate character who the audience will hopefully love, hate and sympathise with in equal measure.  And any show where I get to sing, dance and make people laugh is a joy for me. This show is my favourite yet.”

 

Rebecca Thompson is the Choreographer.

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The Lady who keeps them on their toes, Rebecca is choreographer.

Rebecca Thompson is 36 years old, married to Ian and she is mummy to six boys, James, Charlie, Harry, Freddie, Max and Bobby. She left her post as a secondary school teacher to open Encore Performing Arts Academy. This is her third year involved with LMS as choreographer.

“I love working with and bringing Musical Theatre movement to adults who may have no previous experience of dance. I find it really rewarding and humbling watching everyone put in the effort in making my vision and ideas come alive on stage,” says Rebecca.

 

Obviously, we have powerful men in and behind the show also.  Our leading man Franklyn Hart Jnr is played by Donegal’s finest performers, Giles Murray.

Kieran Connor plays Joe, the junior accountant who’s in love with Violet; Joe Harley plays Doralee’s husband Dwayne; while Anthony McGarrigle plays Dick, Judy’s ex-husband.  The leading men deliver stellar performances along side the women.

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Our male chorus. Director Donal Kavanagh back centre, Producer Noel O’Donnell Back left.

The show is produced by Noel O’Donnell and directed by Donal Kavanagh and Maria Rushe.

Musial direction comes from the ubertalented Mark Bradley.

The show runs at  An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny from Tuesday, February 27, to Saturday March 3.

Show time is 8pm and tickets cost €18 and €20.

For booking, go to www.angrianan.com or ring 0784 91 20777.

 

 

 

I am STOP that Wobbler Mum!

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very very good.
And when she was bad…
She threw strops in the shops because Bad Mammy refused to buy her “SVEEEEEEETIES” despite her digging her heels in and having to be dragged out of the shop with Mammy’s not-carrying-shopping-including-eggs hand, past all of the disapproving Sanctimammies who are tutting at the display of Maternal mayhem (TUTTERS!), but who would have been tutting also had Mammy given in and bought the feckin “Sveeties” because THEN Mammy would have been one of THOSE weak Mammies who gives in to every mental whim of her Pintsized Dictator and who is obviously to blame for the whole downfall of the millenial generation, rather than being the strong willed feckin ROCK that Mammy IS by training her minions that sometimes they DON’T GET FECKIN SVEEEEEETIES just because they’re in a shop.

Then when she’s reached the car and is trying to balance tantrum throwing harlot with groceries and eggs, while also ensuring that other child doesn’t get knocked over, the little girl with the fecking curl breaks free and makes a RUN for it….IN the carpark. (Thankfully against the wall of the shop), but nonetheless, fast enough for Mammy to have to fuck the eggs and groceries onto the ground and RUN as fast as her stupid heels would let her… to catch the minibitch who had suddenly developed speed designed only people with the name Bolt to run on circular tracks.

Thankfully Mammy acquired said Mini before she made it into a more dangerous part of the carpark, but not before Mammy had lost her carkeys, which were thankfully returned promptly by the lovely son of a lovely Supermammy who had watched the whole sorry affair started by the Little Girl with the Fecking Curl, without tutting or commenting (because she is nice rather than a tutter) and so Mammy finally got her Princess strapped safely, (if a little more tightly than usual) into the car seat safely and in one piece…

..which is more than can be said for the feckin eggs.

#SweetChristonabikeIneedavalium #Whendidthelittleshitgetsofast
#feckingcarparks
#cutelittlemonster

I am Stage Mum

“Where do you find the time?”

“How can you be bothered?”

“It can’t be worth that much work?”

Musicals.

I’ve been on stage my whole life, first as an Irish Dancer and for the past 14 years, as a member of Letterkenny Musical Society.  This year, we’re doing Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical.

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The ultimate Girl Power Show!

Every September, we meet to begin our winter of rehearsals and of fun.  It begins as once a week, and by February each year, it’s 2 to 3 nights a week and Sundays.  At the minute, I’m eat, sleeping and breathing 9 to 5.  I’m having ideas at 3am that are sending our Producer into tailspins.  I’m dreaming about walking on stage with no bra on.  Last night, there was a Bull in the wings as the curtain was going up… and it wasn’t me.  My kids are singing the songs and my head is spinning.

I don’t KNOW how I find the time, but I do. In fairness, I rehearse when the girls are in bed. The Sundays are hard but it’s only for such as short time.  The LMS gets me through the winter. It’s a family.  It keeps me out of trouble.

Yes it’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s busy.  Yes it’s a lot on top of being a Mammy AND working 9 to 5… But it’s worth it.  Every member has a busy life.  We all have day jobs.  We all have families.  We all have commitments.  We all get stressed and tired coming up to the show, but then?  Get-in day arrives and the curtain gets ready  to rise, and we remember WHY we do it.

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Next Sunday, the side door to the stage is rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs are hoisted at head height while the crew work on them.  The production team are creating the world for the characters to inhabit. This year it’s an office in America in the late 70s.
I’ll arrive in the middle of it at around 3pm and walk onto the stage. I’ll close my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together will make me smile.  The sounds of the cordless drill…the smell of fresh wood and sawdust…the muffled conversation of the sound guys from the auditorium… it will be beautiful.

I’ll open my eyes and look at the chaotic scene in front of me, wondering (not for the first time in my theatre life), at how within just a few hours, this chaotic canvas will be transformed into a completely believable world into which our amazing cast will step.

 

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And then I’ll do what I do and get together with my colleagues to get our heads around the problems and challenges that only a production team can face, and by the time our cast arrive, we’ll be ready.

So how do I have the time?  How can I be bothered?  Is it worth it?

Yes.  Because this is ME.  Yes, I have children.
My girls are the most important thing in my world.
They are my show.
They are my production.
They are the choreographed chaos of which I’m most proud, and I’ll direct them through life with the same dedication and love that I put into the shows.

But they are also only a part of me.
Yes, I am their mummy, but I’m still me.
I’m still the drama queen that lives for the stage.
I still love the theatre.

I still love how pretending to be someone else can bring me to emotions that I’ve never experienced.  I love to entertain.  I love to make people laugh. I love that I can make people cry…
I still get goosebumps when I hear someone hitting that note.
I still get so carried away watching my closest friends on stage, that I cry because I absolutely believe the pain they are conveying.

And so, standing there next Sunday,  I won’t feel guilty.

Yes, it’ll be a week of rushing and balancing, but my girls are quite safe and well looked after (the dog is so responsible!), and they know that show week is important to Mammy and to Daddy.

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I’m playing Roz!

My girls will grow up in rehearsals for shows.
They’ll see the stress and work and time and effort that goes into this “hobby”.
They’ll learn confidence, respect, organisation skills.
They’ll experience the fruits of the long months of hard work, and they’ll learn that if you want something to happen, you must work to make it happen.
They might even perform on stage with me at some point.

Maybe they’ll work backstage with their Daddy.
Maybe they’ll hate it all.  That’s OK too.

But if I can’t continue up to be who I’ve always been, just because I’ve been blessed with two little darlings, I’m not doing anyone any favours am I?

I am after all, Still Stage Mum.

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9 to 5 opens on Tuesday 27th and runs until Saturday 3rd March. 

Tickets for Friday and Saturday are almost sold out, so if you fancy being swept away by a super cast, a hilarious script and beautiful music, get your tickets soon.

Buy tickets here

I am Some More Wedding Vows Mum

My Partner in Poo.

 

“I take thee for richer, for poorer”, we both said.

“For better for worse, in sickness, in health”

and while we meant all of these things on the day,

In hindsight, there’s probably more we should say.

“I’ll love you alone while it’s just me and you,

Deeply and truly, as lovers should do,

But things might change slightly when two becomes three

And yet I’ll still love you, though it might be slightly

different and strained as we sail through the seas

of babies and nappies and purees and puke,

of Peekaboo, naptimes and lego and books.

And then we realise three shall be four

I’ll still try to love you as much as before.

For while there’s less dinners and cinema dates,

Less romance and movies and less use of good plates,

Every so often, I’ll catch a brief glimpse

Of the Man that I married, and I’ll smile as you wink

I’ll love you in darkness, in fevers, in tears

And teething and pain and in each passing year.

I’ll love you in cuddles and memories and fun

In sneaky embraces and slaps on the bum

As we meet in the kitchen in the middle of night.

And when I watch you swinging our girls way up high.

When you’re loving our girls, I love you the most,

When you’re covered in poo, or you’ve not cut their toast

the right way, or you’ve left all the dishes and mess

to build them a fort or put Hulk in a dress.

When I see you exhausted, yet hugging them tight,

When you get up to cuddle or sooth in the night,

When you smile at them both, I can’t help but stare

At the husband that I never thought I could share,

but happily do with our two little girls,

Who weren’t in our mind as we took all those vows,

I know that you love me when I hear them call Daddy

And I’ll share all that love with our Princesses gladly.

So while we still love and while we’re still “us”,

With kids there isn’t so much time for the fuss

or the dates or attention or time that we had,

But that doesn’t mean our love’s old or is bad.

It’s different and shared, but the spark is still there,

It’s just covered in pink stuff and snot in our hair,

And sometimes we’re knackered or covered in poo

But I still love you as much as when I said “I do”.

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I am Sparking the Gas Mum

Gas.

I don’t know about your house, but in my house, the little blue flame means one thing and one thing only.

And not what you imagine it to be.

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In most houses, this means that it’s almost time for dinner or for breakfast or for whatever wonderfully nutritious meal that Mammy or Daddy is Nigellaing in the kitchen.

In MY house, it means the beginning of 25 minutes of “TORTURE”.

It’s like the little blue flame ignites the realisation that they are ABSOLUTELY STARVING and must eat EVERYTHING in the house, right NOW MAMMY.

It means the beginning of the fridge being opened every 30 seconds, declarations of “What can I eat?” and “I’m staaaaaarving Mammy!”

It means the cries of the wobbler as if she hasn’t been fed for 3 weeks.  The painful hollers of the pair of them as they scream hunger and neglect and cry continuously until I finally put whatever I am cooking in front of them… for them to obviously declare that they “Don’t wike it!” or that they’re “not hungwy!”

No shit sherlock.  You’ve just spent 25 minutes eating fecking biscuits and croissants and yoghurts and EVERYHING in the fecking fridge while I cooked.

I’m not sure which is the biggest waste; the gas or the energy I use cooking for them.