Maire’s no laughing matter for Carmel

Local actress Carmel McCafferty who is appearing in Brian Fosters play Maire-A Women of Derry in the Millennium Forum in February.

Local actress Carmel McCafferty who is appearing in Brian Fosters play Maire-A Women of Derry in the Millennium Forum in February.

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Carmel McCafferty is a woman at home with a bottle of Mundies and a waterproof coat.

For the past ten years she’s been most well known for portraying Maire - a drinker who lives her life on the streets of Derry.

It’s been four years since she last took to the stage as Maire - but Carmel says she can’t wait to get back into the role that many have described as “made for her” when she takes to the stage of the Millennium Forum on February 1 and 2.

Not surprising given that in over 150 performances, Carmel has never once NOT received a standing ovation.

“I have had to learn the lines all over again,” she admitted, “I’ve been taking them to bed to learn before I go to sleep. The wanes have been helping me when I get stuck. They’ve seen me play Maire so many times they know the script better than I do. “

But the Derry woman shys away when people tell her no one could take on the role of Maire the way she has.

“That’s a bit silly,” she says. “It’s like telling someone they couldn’t do a Shakespeare play because Burton had already done it. I’d love to see someone else take on the role of Maire, someone else could do a different slant on her.

“Plus I’ve never seen the play - and I want to see what it is like.”

But Carmel admits Maire can be an intense show.

“It’s intense given that it is a one woman show. The stage can very lonely when you are up there on your own, especially when you are in the Millennium Forum, that stage can be very big. It can be lonely and overwhelming but you have to get in to the story. The whole audience is listening intently to me and it is almost as if they are leaning forward to catch my next word. The blackness of the play makes it deep and soul wrenching.

“This is a play about a woman who drinks too much, she is not to be laughed at.

“But there are parts that are very funny, but you need laughs to break the tension. “

The play begins when Maire is 48 but the story goes back to when she is 16.

“Maire tells you her story warts and all,” explained Carmel. “It is up to you to decide at what point of the play she falls into alcoholism. She had everything she wanted but she ended up on the streets.”

Hailed as ‘unmissable’ by the critics, MAIRE – A WOMAN OF DERRY is a theatrical triumph. If you haven’t seen it yet, this may be your last chance. If you have, then you’ll want to book to see it again!

Book tickets at the Forum on 71264455 or www.millenniumforum.co.uk