Terry and his friends, Josie, Rory and Ted, spend their days as cobblers and their nights as The Cavalcaders, a barbershop quartet of local renown. However, life has taken its toll on Terry, and past betrayals cast long shadows.
Premiered at the Abbey Theatre in July, 1993, and in Britain at the Royal Court a year later, Billy Roche’s classic memory play takes you on a journey back to those times, three decades ago, and to the themes of heartache, companionship and the redemptive power of song.
The latest incarnation of this memorable play opened in The Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Theatre Company’s home in Galway, before embarking on a national tour this summer. The play will be readily accessible to people from all corners of Ireland, and should not be missed.
The Cavalcaders is a comic and tender portrait of life in, pre-Celtic Tiger rural Ireland, and of those who lived there. It was written by Wexford-born playwright, actor and author Billy Roche, who still lives in the sunny South East.
He is best known for the three full-length plays that form The Wexford Trilogy, but has also written the screenplay of Trojan Eddie, published a novel, Tumbling Down, a book of short stories, and has played many stage and film roles. Fifteen years ago he was elected a member of Aosdána.
Druid’s Aaron Monaghan directs an all-singing cast led by fellow ensemble member Garrett Lombard in the latest version of The Cavalcaders, and the cast includes Amelia Crowley, Naoise Dunbar, Sean Kearns, Éilish McLaughlin and Tiernan Messitt-Greene.
They follow in a great tradition of many of Ireland’s best-known actors appearing in previous productions of the play.
Running for about two hours, the play is about how history will always repeat itself, running two different story lines for much of the time. Roche, whose writing is very much in the Irish tradition of Synge, Tom Murphy and Conor McPherson, is strong in his depiction of life in rural Ireland.
The play centres round the character of Terry, and while the setting is contemporaneous, it uses flashbacks to what the author calls ‘the innocent old days’.
Terry loses his wife at the altar to his best man, and best friend, and despite an attempt to comfort himself with an affair, he cannot forget the wife that he still loves.