An award winning one-act play about the experiences of Martin O’Meara VC, Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross winner of the first world war, is being presented at the Galway Fringe Festival from 23-26 July 2015. More information is available here.
Scripter-writer/director Noel O’Neill has done a great job in creating a narrative based on the life of Martin O’Meara, and Kieran Garvey (plating Martin O’Meara) and Rex Gray (playing hospital attendant) act the script masterfully.
The play’s plot doesn’t fully reflect O’Meara’s experiences during the war nor his experiences in mental hospitals after the first world war, and the paucity of information has meant that some creative licence has been necessary. For example, in “real life” O’Meara was a scout/sniper rather than a stretcher bearer, and the link between his post-war mental health and his wartime experience is probably overstated as there is no conclusive evidence that actually links them (my research suggests that a variety of factors contributed to his breakdown).
None of this, however, detracts from the quality of the presentation.
If you’re in Galway, then seeing “Under any old gum tree” would be a good use of €10. The venue is Kennedy’s Live, 47 Eyre Square, Galway