Guided by facilitator Geraldine O’Brien, Straffan Drama Club in Kildare used their Seed Grant to facilitate a two-part project with one enhancing the other. The first involved creating a short film using words and images to capture the meaning of loss and grief on a personal level. The second part involved a theatrical production to raise awareness on loss and grief during rehearsals and within the community during performance.
Short Film: ‘On Loss’
Assisted by fellow Straffan Drama Club facilitators, Karina Power and Jamie Martin, members were interviewed by Geraldine O’Brien on the theme of loss in all its guises. This could be the loss of a pet, loss of a grandparent, arriving in Ireland as a refugee or immigrant, loss of a family home, loss of siblings to emigration, or loss of friends through ‘ghosting’. Following this, award winning filmmaker John Conway of Kildare Young Filmmakers interpreted their stories and put their words to music and images. The resulting gorgeous pastiche is available to watch below.
Theatrical Production: ‘Variations’
Karina Power also directed club members in the production of the play ‘Variations’ written by Katie Hims. The play is set around a teenager’s loss of an older sister and the lives that might have been for them had she lived. It was chosen as a springboard for exploring loss and grief through humour and its cast of teenagers. It also provided a unique opportunity to discuss dying, death, and bereavement during rehearsals, along with the local community who saw the play.
In applying for this grant, Geraldine O’Brien, acknowledged there was a temptation to protect young people from the realities of life and death. This can be especially challenging for youngsters who often feel invincible. However, as she told us recently:
“Avoiding the subject of loss is as futile as death is inevitable. This project linked generations in the community in considering their mortality. It opened up conversations amongst our members not just on loss, but on how those last rites might go, the legacy of one’s life etc. They did this in a safe and supportive environment and found peace within them. Interactions with their families added a further layer in this processing.”
About Straffan Drama Club
Straffan Drama Club is a special interest group affiliated to Foróige. They have 25 members aged between 11 and 17 years. The club is run by volunteer drama facilitators, Karina Power and Geraldine O’Brien in Straffan Community Hall, Straffan, Co Kildare.
The club formed during the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned from online to in person. The aim of the club is to provide a quality theatrical experience for our members who use these experiences to grow and develop as individuals and as citizens. The club is open to all. Members attend voluntarily and are active in planning their own experience.