Farmington Players Ends Run of FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MOURNE, 3/21
The Farmington Players Barn will end their run of the play, "From The Mountains of Mourne to the Mines of Montana." It is a little known tale of "The West," that brought Irish ancestors to the Detroit area. Director Sue Rogers of West Bloomfield says, the play is "dedicated to their valiant spirit." Rogers emphasizes that the work by Lisa Hayes "provides a very personal opportunity to share that pride in our heritage; to sing songs, tell stories and enjoy each other's company-what the Irish refer to as ‘craic.'"
Director Sue Rogers of West Bloomfield says, the play is "dedicated to their valiant spirit." Rogers emphasizes that the work by Lisa Hayes "provides a very personal opportunity to share that pride in our heritage; to sing songs, tell stories and enjoy each other's company-what the Irish refer to as ‘craic.'"
The play focuses Henry on Joseph Doyle and his trans-Atlantic and transcontinental adventures as he makes his way in the world. It runs March 19th, 20th and 21st at The Farmington Players Barn in Farmington Hills. Tickets are available at farmingtonplayers.org and by calling (248) 553-2955.
A Playwright's Inspiration
The playwright Lisa Hayes, discovered her inspiration on a website created by Doyles' granddaughter Fiona Jones, who traced the genealogy and passionately writes about the Miners of Mourne and their journeys. Jones possesses what she calls, a "fierce personal pride" in her Irish roots. "I hope that after watching this play that the audience will have a deeper understanding of the cost to our ancestors paid to provide us with the life we have today," says Jones. Her website is: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mourneminers/ .
Readers Style Theater
Director Rogers is excited about peforming "From The Mountains of Mourne to the Mines of Montana," in Readers Theater style in which the actors read rather than memorize the script. They are also encouraged to break the so-called "4th wall," and make direct contact with the audience. "The Reader's Theater style of the show may be new to many," says Rogers. "But I believe it lends itself well to the oral tradition so revered by the Irish ."
Interactive Irish Sing-A-Long
Before the show begins, audiences will get a special treat as they interact with musicians performing classic Irish tunes. Thomas Adams will sing, "Look to the Rainbow." Jason Wilhoite will perform, "Danny Boy," and 2nd Grader Makenzie Ryder will perform, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." Rachael Rose and Greg Maxwell will also offer their voices in tribute to the Irish.
Streets Paved With Gold
Hayes wrote the play as a tribute to Irish immigrants like Doyle who left their families behind in the 1860's for the town of Butte - known as a land where the "streets were paved with gold." They wound up working the copper mines until tragedy or labor disputes forced many of them out, and some left Montana for Michigan to work in the motor industry.
Director Sue Rogers is related to the main character Doyle. Her grandfather was one of the miners of Butte who headed east for a better life, and Doyle became his Brother-In-Law. Rogers refers to her grandfather as a "fierce advocate for the working man," through his role in the labor movement. "The right to work, fair pay and safe working conditions were no doubt imbedded in his psyche by the injustices witnessed back in Butte," says Rogers, who also plays a role in the production.
Those injustices played out in the form of poor working conditions in 1917 that led to a horrible mining accident in Butte. 168 Miners were killed and their deaths triggered a general strike. The walkout in turn led to the mysterious murder of a union organizer.
About The Barn
The Farmington Players began as an off-shoot of the American Association of University Women. Their first production, The Torchbearers, was performed at a local church. Later in the 1950s, after performing in various city and educational locations, the Farmington Players moved into an old dairy barn located on the site of their present facility on West Twelve Mile Road.
Initially, productions were staged downstairs on a dirt floor. Over the years, improvements to the original Barn transformed it into a more finished space, with the theater itself eventually moving upstairs into a traditional and finished setting.
Since 1953, the Farmington Players have staged more than 180 different musicals, dramas, mysteries and comedies, all as a community theater with 100% volunteer membership.
People from Farmington, Farmington Hills and beyond have come to recognize the group as a true community resource. Since the completion of its all-new, state of the art facility in 2003, the Farmington Players Barn Theater has expanded its mission, serving as the site for city-sponsored events such as youth theater camps in the summer, concerts with groups as varied as Blackthorn and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and as a meeting place for various groups.