|Phil Gawne on left and Past President of NAMA,
Laurence Skelly in the purple sweater!
It was an evening of mixed emotions at the annual Oie’ll Verree held in the village of Michael, when it was revealed that two stalwarts of the celebrated Michael Players were hanging up their aprons for the final time and taking a well earned rest from the stage.
The distinctive Manx dialect play has been a feature of the Kirk Michael concert for generations, with the Michael Players believed to be the only Island drama group to keep the tradition in the public eye.
But the retirement of Win Callister and Ann Corlett has put the future of both the Michael Players and the unique Manx dialect play in doubt, although strenuous efforts are being made to encourage the recruitment of younger actors who can pick up the baton.
With every ticket sold and an extensive waiting list of hopeful visitors, this year’s Chairman, Laurence Skelly MHK, confidently took charge of the proceedings, contributing his own humour about fellow politicians throughout the evening.
The first half of the concert was given over to a selection of creative entertainment, with singing from Manx Gaelic choir Caarjyn Cooidjagh and music from Doona Lambden, Paul Rogers, Katie Lawrence, Isla Callister and Tom Callister. Northern based dance group Ny Fennee gave an energetic display of Manx dancing, followed by some gentle poetry reading by St John’s based farmer Philip Kennaugh. The first half concluded with an hilarious double act called The Deemsters, with their unusual and unashamed Mickey-take of Island events and happenings.
But before commencement of the second half, John Barron, on behalf of Kirk Michael Commissioners, presented the annual Yn Gliggyr Award to Dr Graham Naylor, a well respected parishioner, for his contribution to Manx language and culture. The annual award was first instigated by his wife Pam Naylor.
Then it was back to the entertainment with the second half of the evening dominated by the eagerly awaited Manx dialect play which drew the audience’s keen attention to the small stage of the Ebenezer Hall.
This year’s chosen drama was The Dumb Cake, a vignette by Lillian and Eva Kneen, and an old favourite of the Michael Players who occasionally supplied their own humour, much to the delight of the packed house.
For those unfamiliar with the dumb cake, it’s a speciality associated with Hop tu Naa whereby the female baker, who hopes to find the man of her dreams by divination, is compelled to make this unusual treat in silence.
The Michael Players will now embark on a mini tour of the Island with the play before locking their costumes in the wardrobe for another year.
The evening drew to a close with Arrane Oie Vie (the Goodnight Song) and a feast of home-made fare made by organisers and friends of Michael Heritage Trust.
© January 2014