Family of late Banteer playwright seeks lost play
AFTER happening upon Surrender to Hell by chance, a Duhallow family are now in search of The Twilight of a Bogman; both are plays by playwright Billy Cody that were lost when he died in the 1980s.The Banteer family of poet and playwright Patrick Vaughan or Billy Cody as he was better known were recently familiarising themselves with a pla
AFTER happening upon ‘Surrender to Hell’ by chance, a Duhallow family are now in search of ‘The Twilight of a Bogman’; both are plays by playwright Billy Cody that were lost when he died in the 1980s.
The Banteer family of poet and playwright Patrick Vaughan – or Billy Cody as he was better known – were recently familiarising themselves with a play which Patrick wrote decades ago, but which his family knew nothing about.
The intrigue began a few weeks ago when Patrick’s sister, Kathleen Buckley, picked up The Corkman and read that Banteer Drama Group were going to stage the play ‘Surrender to Hell’ by Bill Cody.
Understandably curious to know more, Kathleen contacted a member of the group, who told her that they had received the play from Banteer man and, as it happened, great friend of Bill Cody down the years, Con Tarrant.
Bill, who died in the late 1980s, had passed on this play to his friend many years ago and Con recently passed it onto Banteer Drama Group in the hope of seeing Bill’s work on stage for the first time.
Bill Cody used to publish poems, songs and stories in The Kerryman many years ago, so this publication plays a number of parts in this story and Kathleen was delighted to use our pages to thank Con for taking such care of Bill’s work for all of these years.
The play was painstakingly handwritten in an old copybook and is in exceptionally good condition, thanks to Con’s care. Kathleen said: “He guarded the play with his life down the years. It’s a real treasure to us to have it back in the hands of the family after all these years.”
And the mystery doesn’t end there. Bill Cody wrote — among very many poems and songs — another play entitled ‘The Twilight of A Bogman’.
This work was produced very successfully by the late Dan Joe O’Connor in both Patrick’s native Dromtariffe and in the Edel Quinn Hall in Kanturk back in the 1960s, but the Vaughans don’t have the original script or any copy of same.
Just as ‘Surrender to Hell’ reappeared, however, Kathleen believes that somewhere, someone has a copy — if not the original of ‘The Twilight of A Bogman’ — stowed away.
While Bill’s songs and stories are regularly used — to his family’s delight — in events like Scór and at informal gatherings around Duhallow, they would prefer that any stagings of his plays would be co-ordinated with the family, because, Kathleen said: “We would like the plays to be produced as he wrote them.”
In addition, Kathleen and her two brothers are hoping to bring together all of Bill Cody’s published and unpublished works into a book collection and they would appreciate any assistance from friends of Bill’s who may know where some of his writings ended up.
They are particularly anxious to find that second play and Kathleen recalls that she and her two other brothers had stand-in parts in the original production all those years ago.
If you know where ‘The Twilight of A Bogman’ is hiding, you are asked to contact any member of the Vaughan family in Dromtariffe so that all of Bill’s work can be brought together in a fitting tribute to his life’s work.