John Bosco is a fifty three year old bachelor living in a rural area. He has been consigned to a life of celibacy by a combination of religiously inspired sexual guilt, social ineptitude and plain bad luck. His fate is not, as he explains himself, the result of a lack of effort on his part. A combination of flashbacks, imaginings, and actual happenings illustrate his endeavors with the opposite sex. His run of failure continues throughout the play in spite of the ministrations of a matchmaker, one smooth-talking lothario all of whom are filled with parochial advice on the subject. By the time the play ends, John has reached the conclusion that there is simply no hope for him.
Good comedy is always socially subversive, of course, but when the story is set in rural Kerry and the dialogue is filled with idiosyncratic provincial witticisms, few seek enlightenment in the text. Keane has always been able to balance humor with pointed personal and cultural concerns, and though he cultivated an attitude of provincialism, he was genuinely rooted in a sense of his immediate audience. The Chastitute delivers the requisite amount of laughs to satisfy their needs. It is filled with comic situations, bawdy one-liners, and plenty of obvious and subtle jibes at the foibles of rural Ireland. The plot is relatively loose and some of the characters provide exactly what the audience expects, namely drunken Corkonians, fire and brimstone missionaries, disco-dancing townies, a no-nonsense housekeeper, a reflective priest, the comparison of women to horses, scenes of embarrassment and immodesty involving individuals of both sexes.
Presented by The Glen Drama Group
Written by John B. Keane
Directed by Tadhg O’Keefe