HAVE been problems. There have been worries. But there has always been
Scallan's reminiscence of a life-long association with the Wexford
Festival Opera is peppered with belly laughs.
catastrophes are accompanied by relief-filled chuckles. Hard work and
stress, alleviated by camaraderie and complete fun.
is this sense of good humour; and light heartedness that has shrouded
every Festival Opera since its inception and has been the inspiration
for Eithne, and Dublin-based illustrator David Rowe, to produce their
latest collaborative work 'You
Can't Be Serious'.
David Rowe's rib-tickling illustrations - drawn over a 30 year period -
the book highlights some of the funniest moments of Wexford Festivals
no disrespect to the opera stars, this book firmly focuses on the craic
which went on in the festival, mostly out of public view. These are the
back stage events that continually make Wexford Festival an enjoyable
event for volunteers, over 50 years on.
a member of the Scallan family of Celtic Linen renown, has been a
life-long friend of cartoonist and illustrator David Rowe, who himself
has been visiting Wexford for the festival over 30 years.
year David would visit, and by way of thank you would send an
illustration of something he had seen in the Festival on any particular
year. I kept the illustrations, and my son encouraged me to put a
narrative with them,' she said.
the new redevelopment of the Theatre Royal pending, this was the ideal
opportunity to write the book. 'We felt it was time to enjoy the
laughter of years gone by,' she said.
sad passing of Chief Executive. Jerome Hynes, has of course, made them
question the timing of the book release. But Eithne herself believes
that going ahead with the launch of such a humorous tribute would be
something Jerome himself would have encouraged. “I know that he was
very enthusiastic about the project,' said Eithne.
started working on the book immediately after last year's festival, and
talked to a variety of people working in all departments of the theatre
from Front of House to cloakroom; the bar, backstage and wardrobe.
are the stories of voluntary workers, going back to Tom Walsh himself,'
said Eithne, who adds that the tales date from the Festival inception,
to more recent comic events.
talked to someone who sang in the very first opera, and I've made sure
to include every section back stage,' she said.
course, some of the more notorious yarns that surround Wexford Festival
may not have reached publication. 'Well not everybody's yarn was fit to
print, 'laughed Eithne, who notes that some memorable events documented
include the infestation of starlings, and the night of the great opera
floods. 'Ah yes, the starlings get a discreet mention, alongside quite a
few other near disasters,' laughs Eithne.
herself is no stranger to literature, having previously penned three
books on local history; including one about her family business Celtic
Linen. She has also penned a book about the Boat Club, and has
collaborated previously With David Rowe on a reference book about houses
Eithne and David have also decided to waive their royalties from the
sales of the book, which is published by Enniscorthy-based company Chaos