independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

'I just knew that panto was for me'

CHAIRMAN RECALLS HIS FIRST 'SIGHTING'

KILLORGLIN Panto Chairman Myles O'Brien's is certainly dedicated to his chosen art, in fact his first born entered the world just as he was taking to the stage with the Killorglin crew.

Originally from Tipperary and married to Anne Cummins of Caragh Lake, Myles moved to Killorglin in the mid-1970s and immediately signed up, performing in Babes in The Wood in 1976.

"I went to the pantomime the first year I was here, liked what I saw and said ' that's for me' and I've been here ever since," he explains.

Asked about the most memorable moments in his 35 years with the group, the father-offour didn't hesitate inn recalling the night his daughter Karen was born.

"We were performing in Bantry that night and my wife was in St Katherines," he states.

"I was in a rush and had to grab a bunch of shillings to ring the hospital. No one answered but I told the operator not to hang up and eventually the porter picked up. I asked him if there was any news and after an age he came back and said my wife had had a baby. I asked if it was a boy or a girl and he said 'I'll go and find out' and the rest is history!"

A committee member for over 20 years and now in his third year as chairman, Myles says the key to a successful panto is the introduction of new blood and a strong spirit behind the scenes.

"When you think of it there's not many organisations, professional or amateur, up and down the country who can say this is our 50th production," he states.

"People may say it's the same aul crowd but it's not. Last year we got the transition kids involved and that brought in new blood. In fact, we have an actual turnover in excess of 25 every year, so if you look at it from the first show in 1958, that's a tremendous amount of people with stage experience in Killorglin. I'm responsible for continuity where you're dealing with people under tension when nerves are on edge but I've never ever had a hard time, it's a tribute to the people involved."

So what were his favourite shows? "When I was tin man in Wizard of Oz I lost about two stone in weight as once you got into the costume you couldn't get out of it and you sweated a lot but it was worth it. There was also ' Fiddler on the Roof ' and 'Robin Hood', they're a few that I remember well.

"Things have changed a lot over the years. We'd no Internet so when we needed the words of a song, a lad had to bring in a tape recorder and then write the first line and replay it and so on. It's certainly changed since then."

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