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 Speed-Clean Queen Mum

Good evening, on this, the 83rd of January, 2018.
 
It is Sunday night once again. Mammy has a list of things she needs to do, but after running around the house for the past 90 minutes finding schoolbags, and lunchboxes and searching for the magical tie and parts of the uniform that get blown to the 4 corners of the earth on a Friday evening, Mammy is fit for NOTHING except parking her posterier on the sofa.
 
Mammy had some lovely friends over for an impromptu dinner last night. Mammy spent 45 minutes speed cleaning the rooms in which her lovely friends would be. It is amazing just how much Mammy can get done when faced with the thought of lovely friends coming to visit. (Not that lovely friends give a continental shite what state Mammy’s Layer of Love is in, but still.) And so Mammy managed to blitz the kitchen, tidy, move, clean bathrooms, mop floors and clean glass, all so that she could apologize for the “state of the place” when the lovely friends arrived.
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How ridonculous eh?
 
“Good evening Lovely Friends, please doooooo come in and look at how homely and coziful Mammy’s practically perfect in every way home is on this fine evening. I must apologize for the layer of love. Please do not judge Mammy for the mess of her candlelt kitchen… Woulds’t one likest some cucumber in one’s gin?
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Ready for catch ups

 
And of course the response from one of the lovely friends was “Yeah yeah. The place looks great. Shut up and start pouring.”
 
The evening was lovely until Princess decided to have her firt EVER nightmare just before 1am. The poor little cretur screamed so loudly that one of Lovely Friends almost spilled her cucumbery gin over herself. And so Mammy had to bid her lovely friends Adieu and take the High-temperatured, sweaty little shaking mess away from the “Bug Bear under me bed” and into our bed.
On the up side, The Him was happily left entertaining lovely friends AND HE did all the cleaning up of Mammy’s showhouse worthy kitchen before he went to bed. And so the remnants of the Heavenly Indian takeaway we had, were gone when I got up.
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Could lick the screen…

 
Fear not however my Mammies. The house is once again a mess and all pretentious notions have left Mammy. Mammy is back in reality, smiling at how quickly Mini-Me and Princess recreated their Layer of Love and glad to have such Lovely friends to speed-clean-for-them-to-not-notice anyway.
I am now ready for bed, hoping and praying that there is no bear or monster under Princess’s bed tonight.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are ready for the last 38 days of January.
The S-Mum

I am Some Things that Make me Smile Mum

What makes you smile Mammy?

“My children’s arms around my neck… spending time with my family… seeing my childrens’s faces when… hearing my children’s voices…cuddles with my babies…”

Yadda yadda yeah.

Of course these things make you happy.  And so they should. Being Mammy is the most rewarding and smile inducing thing in the world.

But Back up Bitcheepoos.  I asked what makes YOU happy.  What things, (not including your precious little cherubs and their hillarious/cute/wonderful milestones), make Mammy smile.   I want the OTHER answers, the things OTHER than your kids that make you smile, because it’s important to remember the things that make Mammy smile, other than being Mammy.

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Apart from these two, obviously.

Here are some of mine:

Food:  Food is possibly my favourite thing in the world. Nothing gives me the same joy as good food. The smells.  The textures. The flavours… I have been known to make questionable noises while eating certain things.  Add a smooth warm wine to a Prawn Balti and I may just love you forever. Eating is not just functional.  It’s sensual. God dammit, sometimes food is just sexy. End of.   I’m salivating now just thinking about it… To Hell with diamonds…The way to this woman’s heart is through my belly.  Just feeeeeeed me.  I’m like a puppy.  I’m not beyond being bribed to do tricks…

When someone else thinks of me:  When Himself leaves my cup and pod ready in the coffee machine before I get up.  When my friend hands me a pair of ridiculous slippers just because she thought of me when she saw them. When someone calls me, not looking for something, just to say hi. When someone texts me out of the blue.

Chatting:  With two chatterboxes for daughters, I don’t get a word in edgeways.  If I get the rare chance to meet my mate, my Him or my Mum for a cuppa without my little people, Oh but it does make me smile.  Uninterrupted, uncensored conversation with our favourite grown up people is soooooooo good for us, isn’t it?

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Hugs:  Apart from my Him and the Hers, there are some people whose hugs make me especially happy.  My Daddy is the bestest Hugger in the world.  End of story. No one will ever win an argument with me about that.  I love hugs from my siblings, especially the two who flew over the Irish Sea to make their nests. It doesn’t matter how long has passed between hugs, they’re stronger than ever each time.

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Hugs makes the sun shine

Being alone:  The true joys of being alone can never be understood until you are a parent.  When I get it, I take it.  And I’m talking ANYWHERE!  The bathroom. The shower. The car journey between drop off and work.  Sometimes, I run awful errands just to get 25 minutes alone! Even putting the bin up to the road is a chance to stop and breath and be alone for a minute. Grabbing a coffee alone is a luxury. I get up most mornings before 6am, just to have an hour to myself.  And who needs a holiday when you have the Supermarket to mosey through all by yourself?

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How I feel on aisle 3

The Beach:  The beach near my home is my absolute favourite place.  It’s my thinking place. Yes I love to walk here with the girls, but add this one to Number 5 and you’ll see a content and happy S-Mum.  If I stand on that shore long enough, all the world realigns and everything is better. It’s cleansing. It blasts away my stresses. And I’m discovering as I get older, that the worse the weather is, the better the blast.

People watching:  This one makes me smile just thinking about it.  I LOVE to people-watch.  I love to pretend and make up what is happening with them.  I write them into characters and scenarios in my head, and sometimes in my book.  (If you have ever passed me, especially if I’m alone, there’s a chance you’ve inspired something. That counts as a disclaimer right?)

Exercise:  This one might not be everyone’s list, but it’s definitely something that makes me smile.  It also makes me swear, grunt and cry, but so does food! There is a fine line between pleasure and pain isn’t there!?

Food: I know I’ve said food already, but seriously, I don’t think I have enough words to make anyone understand the utter joy that it brings me. 🙂

Smells: Stop and smell the roses, or the cut grass, or the baking bread.  Breathe in your Granny’s perfume, your baby’s head, the chocolate cake.  ALWAYS take a second to smell your wine. Or your coffee.  Or the washing powder.  Or the smell in your parent’s hall when you visit.  Smells are memories.  Memories make me smile.

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Breathe it in…

I could go on.  And even as I write this and think about these things, I realise that they are largely easy to do, find and that they are mostly free.   And so it makes me wonder, why I don’t do them more often.  Of course, time is an issue. Being a busy Mammy with a job and 20,000 other things going on will always make time an issue, but at the same time, none of these things are outrageous or elusive really.

And so maybe it’s time to make time to do them.  

So now, I ask you again.  What makes YOU smile? (apart from your Darlings).

Write down a few of them and stick the list on your fridge or in your diary.  Then, try to tick one or two of them off that list at least once a week.

 

Shared on:

My Random Musings

 

I am Slightly Excited Mum

Hurray and Yippee and Woohoo and all the rest.

It is Mammy’s Christmas night out.

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It is Mammy’s favourite night out of the year.  There shall be glitter and bubbles and giggles and snaughles.  There shall be grapeness and cheeseness and obesity-on-a-plateness.

There shall be affirmations of friendships and reminders of “I wub you” and we shall remind each other many times tonight just how much we ought to do this more often, even though for the most part, it’ll be next Christmas before we crush a cup of wine with each other again.

And the most excitingful thing about this particular Christmas party, is that it involves a hotel.  As in a sleepover with my girlies!

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And so while my colleagues all head off this afternoon to get hair and makeup done, Mammy here is going STRAIGHT to the heavenly heaven that is the hotel, to be ALL ALONE for at least 2 hours.  Mammy shall purchase a glass of something fablisly alcoholic and head up to the clean and quiet room, where she will have some very rare time to herself before her roomies arrive.  Mammy shall put on some music and place all of the Muckup that she usually has to keep up high and away from grubby hands out onto the dressing table.  It shall look pretty and after a while, so might Mammy, if not by the muckup and brushes, by the grapes and dim lights of the bar!

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And I shall partake in the cinerellafication ALL ALONE, without saying such things as “Ah AH AH!!” or “Noooo, we don’t touch Mammy’s eyeshadow”, and I shall apply eyeliner without a child swinging on my leg.  And then my buddies shall arrive, already beautified and ready to pretend that we are 21 again. We shall go downstairs to join our other wonderfully jovial and joyeous colleagues and we shall sip herbal tea and have sophisticated and ladylike conversations…

And then pigs shall fly and one legged ducks shall stop swimming in circles…

Bring on the glitterification.  Bring on the grapes.  Bring on the giggles of the sleepover with my girls.  Bring on the fun and feck it, bring on the fuzzy head of tomorrow, for it shall be greeted by no alarm clock, a sleepin until at least 9am and a breakfast that someone else shall cook for me.

If you’re on your Christmas night out tonight, enjoy it and be safe, you Beautiful thing you !

 

I am Social Media Mum

I like social media.
I like how it allows me to stay in touch with people.
I like how it helps me to connect with old friends.
I love how it allows my family members who are scattered like glitter across the planet, to see what’s happening at home.
I love how it lets me see my niece’s little face and how she knows who I am even though they live abroad.
I love how one comment or image can spark conversations that are both heated and entertaining; sometimes even intelligent!
I like to see photographs of the people I like, smiling and happy.
I enjoy it and I get it I suppose.

As a Mummy, it provides some escapism. When the kids are asleep or you find yourself with 5 minutes to sit with a cuppa, there’s something nice about hitting the little blue F  and seeing what’s happening in the real world.

You know? That place where exciting things happen? Where Peppa Pig isn’t in charge and where people live wonderful lives?

Where everyone has terrifyingly precise, painted eyebrows and sparkly white teeth and where people look naturally happy, all of the time?

You get to look into the lives of your “friends”: see their exciting nights out, admire their fabulous clothes, wonder where they get the time or money to visit that salon again.

We see happy families, smiling for the selfie.
We see who’s at the gym, who’s out for dinner and who’s heading away on holiday.

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And while there is no harm in this really,  the key is to know that what you’re looking at is not reality.
It’s virtual.
It’s fabricated.
It’s lies.

No one’s life is perfect all of the time.  We know that, but let’s face it…who is going to voluntarily put a shitty photograph of themselves up for the world to see?

The natural selfies are probably one of 23 shots.

There are magical filters that apparently beautify! (Note to self…find out more about these.)

The reality is that regardless of how careful you are, if you look through your list of friends, you’ll possibly come across at least 2 people about whom you have to ask yourself “who is this?”

And while it keeps us connected, a huge issue for many new mums, is the isolation caused by social media.

Yes, we can see what’s happening and stay up to date with our friends.  We post photographs and status updates about our children and about our lives, to let our friends and families see how cute they are and how entertaining life is with kids.

But when this means that our friends feel that they don’t need to visit, or meet for coffee, or pick up the phone, then… we have a problem.

When seeing everyone else having fun, makes you feel boring and frumpy in your busy, unglamorous world of feeds and nappy changes, then…we have a problem.

When you know the story before someone tells you it, then…we have a problem.

When someone you haven’t spoken to in 2 years only realises that you’re no longer friends when you finally unfriend them on social media, then…we have a problem.

When every conversation  you have includes the line “Yeah, I saw that,” then…we have a problem.

And it’s our own fault.  We see it all on social media so we no longer feel the same need to ring someone up to ask how they’re doing.
After all, we know they’ve been to dinner this week, had the dog to the beach and that the baby has been puking.
We read it on Facebook.

We no longer consider a coffee date important as we know what’s going on with them.
We read it on Facebook.

But of course, Facebook doesn’t give you the same satisfaction that you get from good conversation over a cuppa.
Facebook doesn’t give you a hug before you go back to the whirlwind of your life.
Facebook might help you feel connected to the world outside your home, but only for a second, and only until it doesn’t.

Last week, I met a good friend for dinner.

She’s not on Facebook.

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It was refreshing. She was interested in my stories, in how I was, in how the girls were doing… she hasn’t seen it on Facebook. I was delighted to hear about what she’s been up to since Christmas. It was real conversation and it was lovely. We actually had so much to catch up on.  There were no lies about how perfect life is.  It’s difficult to lie to someone’s face.

We were able to talk about the difficulties we have with our respective Mini-Mes. We laughed at things we remembered from our nights out BC. Stories were interesting because they hadn’t already been told or seen. It was good, old fashioned catch up and it made me feel fuzzy and loved and ridiculously real again.

So while this isolation I speak of obviously doesn’t just apply to mums, that’s the angle I’m seeing it from.  I’m lucky that I have a wonderful family and some very good friends, but sometimes, just sometimes, being a mummy in the presence of two fabulously fun princesses 24 hours a day, can be a lonely place.

And while social media is fantastic and helps us stay in touch, it isn’t real.

So if you know someone; a mummy or daddy, or friend or cousin, who you have to really think about the last time you actually spoke to them, do you and them a favour.

Pick up the phone and say hi.
Or call to visit and actually hold the baby, while she makes you a coffee.

Rather than sharing sentimental quotations or memories on our friends’ pages, we really need to try to make more of our reality… not our virtual reality.

So there you go.
Social media is fabulous.  I get it.  I enjoy it.
But sometimes, it just isn’t enough.
And that’s the truth.

I am Social Media Mum.

Follow me on Facebook 😇

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I am Still Stage Mum

The talented folk of the Letterkenny Musical Society take to the stage tonight for the opening night of  their production of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
I watched the dress rehearsal last night.  It’s stunning and apart from the Saturday matinee, is sold out.
Rightly so.
It’s utterly spectacular.

I’m not involved this year.
That makes me sad.

Obviously,  I have my hands pretty full with Mini Me and Princess, so the show this year was really not an option for me.
I hadn’t really missed it to be honest…until Sunday.

Hubby was in the theatre helping to build the set as usual.
I took the kids in to see what was happening and to say hi to everyone.

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It was the most beautiful, sunny and crisp February Sunday.  The side door to the stage was rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs were hoisted at head height while the crew worked on them.  The production team were creating what would be huge columns for the set.
I stood in the middle of it and closed my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together, made 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 was beautiful.

I opened my eyes and looked 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 canvass would be transformed into a completely believable world into which the cast would step.
Do you miss us?”  My thoughts were interrupted by the familiar voice of our Producer.   And for the first time, I answered that question without having to think about it or feel guilty for admitting it.
Soooooo much.”

I’ve been asked this asked few times in conversations over the past few weeks.  As the publicity for their show caused conversations to turn to it more and more, I’ve heard “Are you involved this year?” or “Do you miss it?”   My automatic answer?  “Not at all, sure I dont have time to miss it!” (Cue careless laugh!)

More often than not however, the question has been more of a statement.  “Obviously you’re not involved this year.” or “I’m sure you don’t miss it, sure you have more important things to think about.
One friend, meaning well when I admitted that I was missing the build-up to the show, went as far as “But sure look at what you have there.  That’s much more important than a show.”

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He pointed at my 3 month old Princess who was sleeping in my arms while I ate lunch (with one hand as usual!)
And of course he was right.
She and her sister 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 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 on Sunday,  I didn’t feel guilty admitting that I miss it.
I didn’t feel guilty last night at the dress rehearsal when I admitted that I’m heartbroken that my friends and Hubby are going to have the best week of their year, without me.
And I won’t feel guilty getting involved again next year.

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 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.

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So this week, I’ll pull up my big girl pants and enjoy watching the people I love so much enjoying their success.
I’ll  cheer them on and encourage them to believe that they are indeed fabulous.
On Saturday night,  I’ll sit in the audience and I’ll clap and cheer and celebrate their achievements.
Because they are Superstars.

And whether I’m on the stage, or in the audience,
I AM Still Stage Mum.

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