Sean Walsh

I live in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes. Most times I live in my head, quite unaware of my surroundings – if you know what I mean… If you succeed in tracking Sean Walsh, please let me know, ok? I've been searching for him for years…

Veil. A Corollary.

Published on Monday 14th October 2013 by Sean Walsh

As it happened that week there was a visiting friar from Down Under staying at Merchants’ Quay. I cannot remember his name but I do know that he was keen on Drama, had a Doctorate or Master’s degree in English Lit. At community recreation one night – after sitting through a performance of VEIL – he expressed his enthusiasm in no uncertain terms. I listened, blushing, shifting uncomfortably in my chair…

“You’ve got that rare gift – a sense for the curtain line, an instinct for the punch line. No one can teach you that – you have it or you haven’t…”

It was all new to me; “curtain line” and “punch line” were unfamiliar expressions. Something of a revelation… I took it away, mulled over it. And yes, no doubt. My scripts – and indeed, sermons! – had punch lines galore. Vide the last line in the scene from VEIL:

RUTH: Will Sadoc exorcise our son? Can Caiphas cure our child?..

 (A tip from a seasoned preacher of missions and retreats: when you get to the end of the sermon, don’t bless yourself or make the sign of the cross… Make your final statement, ask your rhetorical question… pause… then say, simply, Amen, and turn away from the mike…)

 A punch line in a different context – but a punch line for all that…


During the run two men called into Merchants’ Quay and asked to see me. They represented the Moate Players, Naas, Co Kildare – a vibrant amateur drama group; they had seen my play, were much taken by it; and asked could they mount their own production?

Green light granted… I heard no more until they invited me along to the dress rehearsal. I was duly impressed. The same play, but different. It had become a costume drama with a set designed, accordingly. I wished them luck…

Luck, as it happened, had nothing to do with it! They toured the amateur drama circuit, entering their production in the full-length category, again and again. Time after time they won – best play, production, etc. I recall that only on one occasion were they toppled, coming second.

And so they made it to the All Ireland Finals in Athlone, deservedly so. They had truly earned a nomination. Their entry, as it happened, was the only play that week by a living Irish playwright! (Who was there in the Dean Crowe hall on the night, signing programmes for well wishers, as pent-up as any in the cast and all ears when it came to the adjudication!)

No, they – we – did not win the much coveted over-all award,  the Esso trophy; though the production was highly commended and the actress who played Ruth was awarded Best Actress…





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