In a break from my usual Pol-Soc posting, I wanted to share these audio recordings of one of my all-time favourite plays, Philadelphia, Here I Come! as the play is back on the Leaving Cert English Comparative Course. (They’re at the bottom of the page…) I got a present of the cassette tapes many years ago from my dad (who was also an English teacher). I’ve never liked the 1977 film version, but I have found that students reading the text, while simultaneously listening to the audio version is a useful partial replacement for actually seeing the play in a theatre. At the very least, it allows the students to use their imagination and ‘stage’ it in their minds, rather than relying on the decisions of the film makers. It strikes me that nobody is going to be able to go and see this (or any other) play in the year ahead, so I decided to digitize the cassette tape and am uploading here so that students and teachers can use it for their own education (strictly non-profit) purposes. This recording is from the late 1980s, and while there is a little bit of hiss (because of the tape recorder), I don’t think that it gets in the way too much. (I tidied it up a bit with a noise gate, but didn’t get much improvement)… The cast list here has some of the stalwarts of the Irish stage whose voices really bring you back to some of the great productions over the years.
It was a particularly meaningful present at the time because my first significant introduction to the power of drama was in early 1995 when I spent 5 weeks of Transition Year doing my ‘work experience’ in the Abbey Theatre as an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager – really a ‘gofer’) on their revived production of the play. I was supposed to do 2 weeks, but ended up being allowed to stay through the full rehearsal process and technical rehearsals. It was directed by Patrick Mason and starred David Parnell and Darragh Kelly as Gar Public and Private (pictured right). I think that I literally knew every word of the play off by heart, and had the daydream that one of the “Lads” (hopefully ‘Joe’) would get sick one day and I’d be drafted in as a replacement for one show. Obviously, that never happened, but a teenager can (and should) always dream of the possibility!
Episode One: 44 mins
Episode Two: 33 mins
Episode Three: 31 mins
I have many, many thoughts about the play itself, that I wouldn’t presume to bore you with here, but hopefully having a good recording to work from will be of some use to people, particularly if there is another round of school closures. It might take a little bit of the pressure off…
Both students and teachers might be interested in reading this recent post on a reliable technique for answering the dreaded Leaving Cert English Exam Essay, a synthesis of a career and a half of teaching writing by my ‘Da’ and myself…
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