By Mark Squibb | Vol. 12 No. 12 (June 13, 2019)
The story of Paddy McCarthy will be hitting the stage at MerryMeeeting Arts and Crafts in Renews.
The Life of Paddy Iron McCarthy, adapted by Randy Crane from the popular play of the same name, based upon the true story of Paddy’s life recorded in It's Like a Dream to Me: Paddy Iron McCarthy of Renews Relives His First Hundred Years by Bertha Thorne, is a one man play performed by Crane.
“Paddy was a fisherman, typical of most Newfoundlanders at the time,” said Crane.
“The story is the story of his life time, but it’s also the story of Newfoundland’s history for the last hundred years.
“He talked about religion, education, the fight for Confederation…it’s a walk through the history of Newfoundland for the last hundred years told through the eyes of a guy who lived it.”
Crane, who never had the chance to meet the man Paddy himself, hopes to perform the production each Saturday of the summer, beginning June 15.
He will be accompanied only by Larry Brazil, who will provide music for the production, and had over 80-minutes of dialogue to memorize for the production, which will provide a snapshot of typical Newfoundland life back in the day.
A picture slideshow running behind Crane will accompany his storytelling.
He explained that the tale is told as if at a kitchen table surrounded by friends.
“It’s conversational, delivered as the old guys would deliver sitting at the table,” said Crane.
“Paddy was typical of almost a whole generation of men I grew up listening to. They were self made, they were hard workers… generous to a fault, hard workers, and humorous.”
One of the challenges facing Crane in both writing (and memorising) dialog is the fact that he was dealing with a historical figure, not a fictional creation.
“You don’t have the same leeway. You can’t just make up something,” he explained.
Paddy was born in 1903 and lived to be almost 106.
Members of Paddy’s family, as well as original playwright Frank Holden, are expected to be out of the first performance.
Tickets are $20, and the play will be performed on Saturday nights throughout the summer.
Crane and Brazil have also teamed up to tell the story of the SS Florizel, a passenger liner which sank off the Southern Shore in 1918 in The Florizel Story, to be performed at MerryMetting on July 14.