Writing ‘A Night To Remember’

Following the success of ‘Looking For Love’ in 1997, I knew I wanted to write another one-act play. I had an unfinished piece – really just a glorified 15 minute sketch – which had been lying around since my days with the Rathowen Amateur Dramatic Society in the early 1980s. The piece had been originally intended for one our concerts and was designed to follow up on the success of our 1984 play, ‘The Mummy and The Mumps’, which actually featured a lot of men dressing up as women.
The unfinished play, as yet untitled, was about a young salesman who desperately wants a promotion and invites his boss around for a meal, which will be hosted by his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the girlfriend cries off at the last minute and he forces his best friend – a member of the local drama group – to dress up as her. But, of course, the evening doesn’t go according to plan.
Starting to rewrite the play, I knew it lacked something, and then – and I don’t know from where – Kitty O’Donnell was born. I figured the young saleman’s girlfriend couldn’t cook, so he had asked his godmother, Kitty to cook the meal. And before I knew it – as with a lot of my best characters – Kitty developed a life of her own – and it turned out she was an old flame of Gerry’s boss. The play was transformed – Kitty could say and do anything.
There are some lines about Macra na Feirme lads in the play and I remember when it was staged in Tulla, Co Clare in 2001, there were some Macra lads in the audience and they were in convulsions. It’s great for a writer to hear a reaction like that to his words. In 1999 Phyllis Hamilton won a Certificate of Merit for her role as Kitty at the Bray One-Act Festival.
I’m not sure where I got the title from, but it seemed to fit. I know it’s also the name of a 1958 film about the sinking of the Titanic. As luck would have it, that’s the one film everyone seems to have seen – even people who NEVER watch films.
I later turned ‘A Night To Remember’ into a three-act play called ‘The Yes Man’..

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