Friday, March 13, 2009

Some Background on Paddy "Iron" McCarthy and Frank Holden's one man show "It's Like a Dream to Me"


Paddy "Iron " McCarthy of Renews is,at 105, one of the oldest living Newfoundlanders and the last witness to the Florizel disaster of February, 1918.

On Paddy's Weekend in Renews, March 14 and 15, Paddy "Iron" will come home to Renews to tell his story on stage and in pictures.
Writer/performer Frank Holden will give two performances of his new one-man play, " It's Like a Dream To Me," at the Regina Mundi Center,Renews, Saturday night and Suanday afternoon, March 14 and 15.
The two-day event will also include a book launch, visual art displays, a dance, storytelling, singing, and music by local performers.
Frank Holden is known for earlier one-man plays such as "The Irish Caruso," and "Judge Prowse Presiding."
He says he got the idea for "the Paddy play" while writing a review of "It's Like a Dream to Me," Bertha Thorne's 2003 book of the same name about her father's long and varied life in and around Renews.
"Paddy tells his stories in the colorful and jaunty, but direct irish newfoundland tongue that I heard growing up. My family are half southern shore and half St.John's west. I hadn't met Paddy "Iron" yet, but when I read the book, I knew exactly what he sounded like and how he thought."
And Holden also saw Paddy McCarthy as more than yet another stage-worthy character.
" There was so much in it of growing up catholic, of dances and pranks, of work and risks and travel on land and sea, of home and community life, that Paddy's story is the life of rural Newfoundland in miniature.
" It is practically a social history radiating out from Renews. Paddy's life has lasted the 20th century.
" It has bridged pioneer outport life to the modern one we now have as a canadian province with communications, roads, schools, hospitals and mobility."
Paddy was born nearly three months before the Wright brothers flew the Kittyhawk in 1903, and he had a flying lesson in 1976.
" If I can hang on for another spell, " he quips " I might buy meself a ticket and go to the moon yet."
"It's Like a Dream To Me," also the name of Frank Holden's stage play with photos, stories and songs, was performed between 38 and 40 times for visitors and tourists at Trinity's "Festival in the Bight" last summer of 2008.
"After that many previews out of town," says Holden,"I'm ready to open in Renews. Our next stop is a show at St.Patrick's Mercy Home, where 105 year old Paddy will, please God, still be there to see himself."
For tickets and information on Paddy's Weekend, March 14 and 15, call 363-2940, 363-2568 or 363-2486.