How and what do we remember? How is memory trapped in, and defined by, space: a house, a room, a farm, a bordered set of expectations and silences?
Set in Leitrim but hovering on the edge of liminal space and time.
On the Way Out is based on Vincent Woods’s first play (John Hughdy and Tom John) which was written in New Zealand and produced by Druid Theatre Company in 1991.
A dying patriarch tells his story, defiant, pagan, stubborn; rooted and unexpectedly universal.
His song is a song of full-throated life.
His son tells a very different story; the two voices echo and distort each other and make a fractured world.
A third figure inhabits their space, a storyteller whose words blur the edges of reality, and prism the shadows of their existence in a stream of language, surreal and elemental, that suggests a lost world and an eternal thread of light.
This family story is told in a style that is marked by irreverent humour, vivid characterisation and a remarkable, colourful use of local language and storytelling tradition.
The play explores issues of loss and belonging, kinship and memory and confronts the audience with a landscape on the edge of extinction, a people ‘on the way out’ and they tell their story in a small townland soon to be a forest.
On The Way Out is a play of raw and simple power, which confronts an audience with the shock of death and the demise of a way of living.
Many of the themes at the heart of the play – loss, isolation, male suicide – remain very relevant in Ireland in 2022: deep humanity and apparent simplicity of character set against a metaphysical backdrop of myth and evocation, a timeless place in the landscape of remembrance.
Vincent Woods, writer and broadcaster who is presenting the series ‘The County Measure’ on RTÉ Radio 1. His plays include ‘At the Black Pig’s Dyke’ and ‘A Cry from Heaven’ and poetry collections are ‘The Colour of Language’ and ‘Lives and Miracles’. With Eva Bourke he co-edited ‘Fermata: Writings Inspired by Music’, and with Australian poet Colleen Burke co-edited ‘The Turning Wave: Poems and Songs of Irish Australia’. Plays for radio include ‘The Gospels of Aughamore’, ‘Broken Moon’ and ‘Last Supper at the Imperial Hotel’. His work with music and musicians includes the stage shows ‘The Leitrim Equation’, ‘Open Room’ and ‘Portal’. He has written several song lyrics and the libretto for Gavin Bryars’ composition ‘Wittgenstein Fragments’ recently premiered by Louth Contemporary Music Society. Vincent is director of the Iron Mountain Literature Festival in Leitrim. He lives in Dublin and is a member of Aosdána.
Cast and Creatives