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A play telling the story of two lifeguards on the second worst beach in Ireland will be performed in Cork for the first time later this month.
Former BAFTA winner Bridget O’Connor’s comedy ‘The Flags’ tells the story of Howie and JJ, a pair of hopeless yet ambitious “leisure operatives” with dreams of promotion. Although it was written by O’ Connor while she lived in Cork, Cork audiences have never seen this hilarious comedy.
Eager to fill the vacant lifeguard positions on the golden sands at Banna Strand, the two lads must first survive an eagle-eyed inspection from their boss Brendan, who has a secret agenda of his own.
The inept pair, who seem to have misplaced their lifeguard manual, are thrown into further turmoil by the arrival of a mysterious young woman with surprising intentions.
When ‘The Flags’ was first performed in at the Manchester Royal Exchange in 2006, it received tremendous accolades and won three Manchester Theatre Awards.
Bridget O’Connor was an author, playwright and screenwriter. Her first success in writing came in 1991 when her story ‘Harp’ won the Time Out Short Story Prize. After this, she wrote two collections of stories: ‘Here Comes John’ and ‘Tell Her You Love Her’.
Her plays include ‘The Centurions’, ‘States of Mind’, ‘The Lovers’, and ‘Becoming the Rose’. In her final years, Bridget and her husband Peter Straughan wrote the screenplays for the films ‘Sixty Six’ and ‘Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution’. They adapted John le Carré's novel ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ into a 2011 film of the same name, for which they were awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Bridget died of cancer in 2010 at the young age of 49.
Performing ‘The Flags’ is Cork’s own Red ‘n Blue Theatre Company, founded in 2018 by married couple Dylan Kennedy and Jenny Fennessy.
The company’s debut production, ‘Lovesong’, was a complete sell out both in Cork and in Dublin, receiving standing ovations for every performance.
The play received five Waterford News and Star Green Room Award nominations, including Best Play, Best Director, and Outstanding Event of the Year. It went on to win best supporting actor and actress awards.
Jenny said: “Running a theatre company was a new experience for us and gave me a unique insight into theatre in a way being an actor never had. Working with tight budgets and limited resources, Dylan and I had to become ‘Jack of all trades’ – lighting design, producers, directors, sound and costume designers, on top of our usual roles as actors.
“It also gave us both a sense of satisfaction we had not quite had previously – finding a piece of writing we loved, actors we admired, music that moved us, and pulling all the pieces together to create something memorable.”
‘The Flags’ will be performed by Dylan Kennedy, Jenny Fennessy, Sean Ahern and Darragh Feehely at Cork Arts Theatre from 31 May to 11 June.
For more information, visit corkartstheatre.com.