REHEARSALS are currently well under way for ‘Down’s But Not Out’, a new play by Lurgan man Raymond Murray.
Following previous successes with A Peace of History and Who’s Gonna Stop Me, this new work focuses on the contrast in attitudes to Down’s syndrome between 1960 and the present day.
Mark Blevins, a frequent performer with MADS and other drama groups, takes the lead role as Luke Sharkey.
The writer commented: “During the scenes that are set in 1960, there are some very harsh moments for Mark to endure. His condition is ridiculed, but I’ve tried to recreate how it might have been and he has shown great maturity in accepting this. I’m absolutely delighted with his performance at rehearsal and I’m very grateful to his family for their help with this project.”
Joining Mark on stage are many familiar names from the local drama scene. Most are drawn from the prolific MADS group, with Jonny McGuinness, Aaron Murphy, Michael McAleenan and Nicola O’Hara to the fore.
Taking a leading role as Luke’s mother is Karen McConville, whose character experiences the whole range of emotional experiences throughout the play’s many turns. David Murphy plays Luke’s father while Brendan Magee doubles up in two roles that represent the extreme and ugly face of authority in 1960. Ruairi Coleman, Laura Robinson and Geraldine Owens complete the impressive cast.
Though the subject is a serious one, the play is laced with humour as well. “It was a challenge to strike the right balance. The laughter is important, but so is the dignity of the condition. I hope I have achieved this balance”, said Raymond.
There is limited use of strong language during this play. Anyone who may be offended by this should not attend. Additionally, the play is not recommended for children of primary school age as they may find much of the content difficult to understand.
Down’s But Not Out opens in Lurgan Town Hall on Thursday, December 1, at 7.30pm and runs for three nights. Tickets priced at £6 will be available this weekend from McConville’s Shoe Shop in North Street, Mallon’s Butchers in Edward Street, the Downs and Proud Facebook page or by calling 07894 321 975.