From com­edy to con­flict, Lorn Drama Fes­ti­val serves up full menu of plays

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

THE 20th Lorn Drama Fes­ti­val put on an­other fine pro­gramme of plays for the crowds at Oban’s Cor­ran Halls last week.

The fes­ti­val put on three nights of live theatre for the au­di­ence’s en­joy­ment, from drama so­ci­eties from Ben­der­loch, Seil, Taynuilt, Dal­mally and Ac­cent from Camp­bel­town – but sadly not Lochgilp­head Drama Club, which had to pull out due to ill­ness on the Fri­day.

The last-minute re­place­ment acts, which were not judged, in­cluded a hu­mor­ous talk ti­tled A Tale of Two Ships by the Oban War and Peace Mu­seum’s Bill Leech, which ranged from sto­ries of an es­caped mon­key in Ben­der­loch to ship­wrecks car­ry­ing 50,000 left-footed san­dals.

Linda Robb per­formed a short com­edy by Ge­off Parker called ‘Is That You Clint?’ about meet­ing her heavy-breath­ing stalker, and Anuschka Miller per­formed her orig­i­nal story A Lit­tle Voice.

Vivi­enne Price, Kath­leen Han­ni­gan and Carol Thom­son then read Robert Ser­vice’s poem The Hag­gis of Pri­vate McPhee, sent to the WWI sol­dier for a Burns Sup­per in his trench, be­fore a Ger­man bomb blows it up, but the thought of the hag­gis drives a leg­less McPhee back to the line.

The fes­ti­val fea­tured seven plays, in­clud­ing Last Tango In Lit­tle Grim­ley by Dal­mally and Lochawe Drama Group, and Tom Stop­pard’s A Sep­a­rate Peace by Ben­der­loch and North Con­nel Drama Club. The fes­ti­val’s ad­ju­di­ca­tor Dave Ben­nett praised the qual­ity of all the per­for­mances, as did au­di­ence mem­bers.

Taynuilt and District Drama So­ci­ety’s per­for­mance of Trio won the big­gest clus­ter of tro­phies: best moment in com­edy, the ad­ju­di­ca­tor’s award, and the high­est marks for dra­matic pro­duc­tion.

Vivi­enne and David Price, the play’s pro­ducer and sound man­ager re­spec­tively, said: ‘Trio is set in a con­cert hall and fea­tures three char­ac­ters, Vi­o­lin, Vi­ola and Cello, who go through the mo­tions of farce to sav­age ends.

‘The au­thor, James Saun­ders, said of his work: ‘If there is any theme that runs through my work, it is the ab­sur­dity of find­ing logic in any­thing.’ His play, Trio, is a good ex­am­ple of what he meant.

‘It is an ex­tremely chal­leng­ing en­sem­ble piece both for the ac­tors and the tech­ni­cal team and what we achieved was due to their to­tal com­mit­ment to the play.

‘We had no idea how the au­di­ence would re­act to the piece and we were amazed and de­lighted with the re­sult.’

In the ju­nior sec­tion, Taynuilt and District Drama So­ci­ety (Ju­niors) won first prize with Mark Rees’ mov­ing wartime play Re­mem­brance set in a Bri­tish park in 1915, fol­lowed in sec­ond place by Ben­der­loch and North Con­nel Drama Club (Ju­niors) with their comic pro­duc­tion Prof’s Big Idea by Ge­off Bam­ber. Re­mem­brance’s end scene also earned the award for the best moment in theatre.

Seil Drama Group’s play set on an is­land called All By My­self picked up the stage man­age­ment award, and the high­est marks for stage set was won by The Magic Round­about per­formed by Ac­cent Play­ers, about two road work­ers who find a lady camp­ing on a round­about.

The fes­ti­val’s chair David Price said: ‘ Whilst I am de­lighted to see a small resur­gence of in­ter­est in am­a­teur theatre, I think it is true to say that all our lo­cal so­ci­eties are on the look out for new blood. So, if you’re in­spired to take part, don’t hes­i­tate to get in touch.’

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