And Go to Innisfree: Drama Review

This year’s FEATS entry by The New World Theatre Company (NWTC) is being put on in the Cultural Annexes of the Chateau de Bourglinster this week for a run of 5 performances.

The Festival of European Anglophgone Theatrical Societies (FEATS) takes place annually over Pentecost week-end, with this year’s event scheduled for Frankfurt and featuing no less than 12 productions from amateur dramatic groups from throughout Europe.

The Luxembourg Chronicle got the opportunity to sit in on the performance on Friday evening; the first floor cultural space being the ideal setting for an intimate production featuring Niamh Huggard, Lisa Burke and Rachel Lloyd as Old Anna, Anna and Young Anna, respectively, in front of a 50-60-strong audience. With soft lighting and even softer sound effects – cue waves breaking on the shoreline – Old Anna takes centre stage.

In what can be described as a three-person monologue set on a beach in New England, Old Anna (Niamh Huggard) is approaching her 80th birthday with guests about to arrive. However, she is struggling with the dilemma of whether to sell her home where she lives alone and move into a retirement home / condominium, and have other people of her own age as company, or to remain independent and live her remaining days to the full.

While contemplating the decision to be made, she is torn between sense and being practical (Anna) and the exhuberance of Young Anna – just like a little angel and a little devil sitting on each shoulder.

In fact, the situation in which she finds herself is one in which most of us will find ourselves in at some time in the future, thus resonating at a personal level with each and every member of the audience. The story, written by Jean Lenox Toddie (and directed by Christine Probst and produced by Valerie Scott with permission by Samuel French).

Old Anna reflects on the last 50 years and recollects various anecdotes while at the same time appearing to becoming senile. Her memory is not what it used to be, but she does recollect her childhood and times with her parents when they were alive, and she does conjure up possibilities when she can do anything she wants, including talking to ants…

Her thoughts (out loud), when both confused and forgetful, as well as emotional, but most of all indecisive, are in sharp contrast to her in her fomer years, as both Anna and Young Anna are trying to convince her to take a different path. But which path shall she choose?

One of the most powerful scenes in the one-act drama occurs when they break into quite song – “Maggie” has rarely meant so much.

The 40-minute production is followed by an Indian buffet dinner held outside, opposite the Chateau de Bourglinster in the balmy May evening air.

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