I Do Not Like Thee Dr. Fell
Senior House Drama
Seamus Gubbins, "the anchor-man"
Sixth Year Dramatic Society
"I Do Not Like Thee Dr. Fell"
"I Do Not Like Thee Dr Fell' was Bernard Farrell's first full-length play and it proved to be an instant success here at home and abroad for the Sandycove born writer. Premiered in 1979 at the Peacock Theatre, and featuring a young Liam Neeson in the cast, '...Dr Fell' pokes fun at the whole concept of 'therapy groups', which had thrived during the late 1960s and for much of the 1970s. Farrell places an assortment of characters in his story, all with their own hang-ups and neuroses and his view from the outside offers a slice of theatre that is to be enjoyed, if done in the right spirit."
Having whetted our appetite for modern Irish drama with J. B. Keane's "The Field" last year we decided to indulge ourselves with more topical fare by presenting one of the best plays of recent years, namely "I Do Not Like Thee Dr. Fell" by Bernard Farrell. The plot concerns Suzy Bernstein's overnight therapy session where Farrell brings together a motley group of social mis-fits who individually have problems but. collectively generate drama, conflict and humour of a high order.
John Dargan as the cynical, stammering, lying, conniving Joe Fell was very good and his sense of timing belied the fact that this was his first time on stage. John Rice played Suzy Bernstein, a far-cry from his Bird O'Donnell of last year, with his usual flair. To misquote Suzy he "relaxed","related" and "communicated". As Paddy the caretaker, the only one to escape the social explosion of opposites, John McDonnell, fresh from his success as Mamie Flanagan gave a solid yet comic performance.
Ronan O'Hara lived up to his reputation of being one of the best actors to grace our stage in recent years. Playing the part of Roger, much abbreviated by the scissors, he gave us warmth, pathos and sensitivity totally the opposite of his role as Bull McCabe last year which was a tour de force.
Peter was played by Seamus Gubbins, again with great conviction and control. Last year Seamus was the sergeant and it is no exaggeration to say that he has been the anchor-man of our last two productions.
Maureen, Peter's wife, was played by Michael Van Dessel another first-timer. He adequately conveyed the timidity yet maturing strength of this lady. Malcolm O'Beirn, after much persuasion, played Rita so well that he has a definite future in drag!
In recent years there has been a growing reluctance, especially among sixth years, to appear as women on stage and this despite reference to the staging of Shakespeare's plays and the current admission of sexual equality! Gone are the days when the challenge of the wig and the hemline were met manfully. Hopefully the fashion will change and we won't be reduced to the chilling option of all male plays or a co-ed 'Knock!
The success story of our December production was due in no small way to the sterling efforts of Fr. Gardiner on sets and the stage crew; David Crowley, Colin Rafferty, James Hannan and Philip de Courcy.
The Central theme of the play is the denigration of hypocrisy and the search for truth in people. I feel that, as a result of staging this play, we all cast, crew and myself have learned that bit more about each other.