An Triail

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Léiríodh an dráma ‘An Triail’ den chéad uair ar an 22 Meán Fómhair 1966, sa Damer, amharclann Ghaeilge a bhunaigh Gael Linn i mBaile Átha Cliath. Scriobh Máiréad Ní Ghráda an dráma. Tá mé cinnte gur bhain gach foghlaimeoir úsáid as a téacsleabhar, ‘Progress in Irish’ am éigin.

Bhí an phríomhpháirt ag an fhile chlúiteach as Conamara, Caitlín Maude. Dráma conspóideach atá ann. Tá sé faoi shochaí na hÉireann sna 1960í agus faoi na fadhbanna a bhaineann leis an tsochaí ag an am sin, fadhbanna nach ndearnadh trácht orthu go minic: institiúidí- an Eaglais Chaitliceach, an córas oideachas, an dlí; fadhbanna sóisialta: bochtanas, tithíocht, teacht i dtír ar dhaoine, an bhean neamhphósta agus a leanbh, striapachas, dúnmharú; dearcadh na ndaoine- fimíneach, bréagadóireacht, mí-ionracas. Tá siad uilig ann -ach níl an dráma diúltach ar fad- tá Samáirigh mhaithe sa scéal a thugann dóchas dúinn. D’éirigh go han-mhaith leis an léiriúchán. Mhol an léirmheastóir Harold Hobson in The Times Shasana é agus fuair an dráma aitheantas idirnáisiúnta. Rinneadh leagan teilifíse de agus bíonn sé ar an siollabas i scoileanna ar an dá thaobh den teorainn go minic.

Tá an dráma scríofa i nGaeilge ghlan shoiléir. Bhí a fhios ag Máiréad Ní Ghráda a lucht féachana: daoine a raibh Gaeilge réasúnta acu, Gaeilge na scoile.

Léirigh an dráma sin an tallann liteartha a bhí ag scríbhneoirí Gaeilge. Bhí agus tá tallann iontach inár measc. Ach caithfimid an tallann sin a chothú i dtimpeallacht chuí. Caithfimid scríbhneoírí a spreagadh – scríbhneoírí óga go háirithe. Ach cad é mar is féidir sin a dhéanamh nuair atá tionscal na leabhar ina phraiseach agus nach bhfuil nuachtán seachtainiúil againn fiú?

Agus ag caint ar thallann, cad é faoi na daoine óga ó Choláiste Lurgan ar The Late, Late, Dé hAoine seo caite? Ní choinneodh The X-Factor coinneal dóibh! Mura bhfaca tú an clár, téigh chuig RTÉ Player – anois!

The drama ‘An Triail’ was first performed on 22 September 1966, in the Damer, an Irish theatre in Dublin founded by Gael Linn. Máiréad Ní Ghráda wrote the play. I am sure that every learner has used her textbook ‘Progress in Irish’ at some time or other.

The famous Conamara poet, Caitlín Maude, had the main part.

It was a controversial play. It is about Irish society in the 1960’s and the problems in society at that time, problems that were not often mentioned: institutions- the Catholic Church, the education system, the Law; social problems: poverty, housing, exploitation of people, the unmarried mother and her child, prostitution, murder; people’s attitude: - hypocricy, lying, dishonesty. They are all there. But the play is not totally negative: there are good Samaritans in the story who give us hope. The production was a great success.

The reviewer Harold Hobson praised it in The (English) Times and the play received international acclaim. It was put on television and it is often on the syllabus in schools on both sides of the border. The play is written in good, clear Irish. Máiréad Ní Ghráda knew her audience: people who had reasonable Irish, school Irish.

The play showed the how talented writers in Irish could be. We had, and we have, people with great literary talent. But we must nurture that talent in a proper environment. We must encourage writers- young writers in particular. But how can we do that when the book business is a shambles and we don’t even have a weekly newspaper?

And talking about talent, what about the youngsters from Coláiste Lurgan on The Late, Late Show last Friday? The X-Factor could not hold a candle to them. If you did not see the programme, go to RTÉ Player – right now!