Through November 25|
SIVE Andrews Theatre/Irish Classical Theatre Company
If you are broke and see no future improvement, would you sell your husbandís niece to a rich guy to bail out your finances?
In Sive, Mena Glavin (Aleks Malejs) is perfectly willing to take the cash to make Sive (Kiana Duggan-Haas) marry the aged and multiply widowed, frail, rich farmer SeŠn Důta (David Lundy).
Sive is fair game for Mena because the niece is illegitimate in these days of the Fifties when the Catholic Church had an iron hand on the citizenry of Ireland and, ordinarily, she would have been sent to one of the dreaded orphanages.
Apparently, grandmother Nanna (Josephine Hogan) kept her granddaughter Sive from being taken away, so she would be raised by Nanna and the babyís uncle Michael (Patrick Moltane) and now by Mena, who isnít happy about it.
Sive goes to the local convent school, symbolized by her school uniform, where sheís a very good student with hope to use education for her future.
Apparently, her father went to work in England and was killed there, although the way dad is talked about makes it not necessarily true.
The playís events are triggered by the local marriage broker, Thomasheen Sean Rua (a wonderfully sleazy Ray Boucher), who gets to Mena with the marriage offer for Sive, along with cash for the wife and cash for himself.
Sive is actually much more interested in local carpenter Liam Scuab (Peter S. Raimondo), something not known to Mena.
Wife agrees to the wedding (and the cash), even after the doddering SeŠn visits, and promptly pulls Sive out of school and locks the girl up so she canít flee with Liam.
John B. Keane wrote this story in the depths of the hard times of Irelandís Fifties, with massive emigration, particularly across the Irish Sea, and mixed with a Shakespearean ending.
ďSiveĒ is still very popular, suggesting the tenor of those times is well known to the Irish of today, when times are better and the power of the Church has been broken.
You sit in the Andrews seats and wonder how bad things must have been for small farmers that Mena agrees to the sale of the teen Sive, despite the opposition of Nanna and the uncooperative Mike.
This isnít slavery, where human beings were sold and traded and mortgaged.
This is selling an acknowledged member of her family, slightly different from American slavery where family members were aware there were children of the master among the slaves and looked away.
Mena knows all this and agrees to the sale, anyway.
Director Vincent OíNeill isnít distant from the material and the play and certainly heard stories of life in those days and may understand the psychology of this enveloping tragedy in a way we canít today.
Heís working with a very strong cast, particularly Malejs and Boucher, with smaller strong performances from Lundy and Gerry Maher as the wandering tinker Pats Bocock and his son Carthalawn (Johnny Barder), the conscience and information source of the community.
The nature of the Andrews Theatre forces minimal sets, although Brian Cavanagh does well with the small set.
ďSiveĒ is a look at poverty in a country long afflicted with it, but sending a message to us about how bad things can get to force sale of a family member and maybe that look at poverty is something for us to see and ponder.
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