John B. Play ‘The Year of the Hiker’ To Be Staged in Rathcabbin

By: Rose Mannion.

The much acclaimed Rathcabbin Players will bring the John B. Keane classic ‘The Year Of The Hiker’ to theatre lovers from January 20th. to 23rd. incl and from 28th. to 30th. January incl.  The venue is Rathcabbin Hall and the curtains go up at 8.30p.m. sharp. Admission is by booking only on (087) 2360096 between 5 & 8p.m.

Written in 1964, the play deals with yearning, loss and regret and tells the peculiar story of a man nicknamed The Hiker  (Pat Kennedy) who returns home looking for forgiveness from the family he walked out on 20 years previously.

Simey (Des Clancy), Aunt Freda (Pauline Walsh), The Hiker (Pat Kennedy), Kate (Sarah King) during a recent rehearsal for the forthcoming John B. Keane classic The Year of the Hiker which will be staged in Rathcabbin Hall. To book call (087) 2360096

In the opening scene his son Simey (Tagdh Nevin) is being urged by no-nonsense aunt Freda (Pauline Walsh) to get ready for his sister Mary’s (Caoimhe Kennedy) wedding.  The family’s thoughts slip involuntarily back to the Hiker’s absence and his wife Kate (Sarah King) laments that Joe (Des Clancy) should not have to be giving his sister away.

Simon, who was only a baby when his dad left, got the chances Joe lost out on – education and the potential to marry. Yet he takes it all for granted and does not appreciate the sacrifices which were made. When The Hiker does eventually show up he sniffs out his selfishness and the weakness of his character straight away. Does he see traces of his earlier self in Simon? The Hiker’s departure rocked the family and it was not just the embarrassment and anger that left such a mark. Towards the end of the play The Hiker points out the close proximity of love and hate. The people who know him – Freda, Kate and Joe – loved him once, so why did he leave?

The late playwrite crafted his characters well and once said that this was his best piece of writing. This is a beautiful play, with the gags and humor failing to mask the sense of hurt and futile loss of lives not fully lived. The themes of unreliable memory and the limitations of character feature. If only people could control how they acted – not let pride, shyness, cruel flippancy and jealousy guide them.

Anne Moloney who is new to Rathcabbin Players this year, will direct this impressive production which the audience is sure to enjoy.

For the first time this year, Rathcabbin Players will have a brother, sister and daughter on stage, namely the Kennedy’s. Pat who plays the part of the Hiker is no stranger to Rathcabbin patrons having first appeared back in 1985. Caoimhe, his daughter has also made a name for herself with Rathcabbin Players and now after a break which has been far too long, Pat’s sister Sarah makes a welcome appearance in the part of the hikers long suffering wife.

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