The Mai at 41 Monkgate

York Settlement Community Players came to 41 Monkgate last week to perform their version of production The Mai. It’s a show originally written by Marina Carr and directed by Jan Kirk with music composed by Oliver Mills. The play featured an Irish family living at the end of the 1970s, which also coincidentally fitted in well with St Patrick’s Day being last week (17th March).

By Jane Howkins

The Mai tells the tale of four generations of an Irish family in the late 1970s through the eyes of The Mai’s sixteen-year-old daughter Millie (Beth Sharrock). The plot centres around her father Robert’s (Damian Fynes) abandonment of the family five years previous to the start of the play and her mother’s (the eponymous The Mai, played by Beryl Nairn) way of dealing with this. Other characters also included the opium smoking Grandma Fraochlan (Elizabeth Elsworth), Mai’s sister Connie (Helen Sant), hippie sister Beck (Jessica Murray), and two eccentric aunts (Sophie Buckley and Vivienne Clare).

The play had quite a few humorous instances and until the final moments seemed to be more of a black comedy. However, there were several scenes that brought home just how hard life must have been for Mai and her brood, following Robert’s disappearance and reappearance after five years. Mentions of god and religion were also present (a common theme in Ireland at the time), and the production had an underlying feminist bent to it. Whilst the ‘f’ word (in this case feminism) can sometimes be an instant turn-off to some, this greatly added to the play and the way in which events were portrayed, with no one character seeming to be perfect.

Overall, an excellent production, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the next show York Settlement Community Players put on!



The Mai was performed at 41 Monkgate from  Wednesday 16 to Saturday 19 March 2016