Sean Walsh

I live in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes. Most times I live in my head, quite unaware of my surroundings – if you know what I mean… If you succeed in tracking Sean Walsh, please let me know, ok? I've been searching for him for years…

A Multy Memory

Published on Saturday 20th October 2018 by Sean Walsh

Autumn, 1949. Franciscan (open) college, Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

Me in sixth year. The start of my first – and last – year as a boarder…

A few weeks later work began in earnest on the annual Christmas play; as it happened, the friar in charge of production, Father Arthur Jordan (gone to God), had decided on an abridged version of The Merchant of Venice.

That evening, at the end of the first read-through/audition, I emerged from the rehearsal room walking on air: the good friar had pointed to me and – between puffs on the inevitable cigarette – cast me as Shylock!

I took to my new role with a heart and a half, fell on the text, devouring the lines. Memorising, memorising… ‘Lifting the words off the page, giving them vibrant life:

“You spit on me on Wednesday last…

Another time you call me dog…

Many a time and oft on the Rialto…

Ships are but boards, sailors but men…

A Daniel come to judgement! Yea, a Daniel!..
Oh, wise young judge, how I do honour thee!

Nay, take my life and all…”

November, December… I was not all that aware of the advent of winter, the cycle of the seasons. Much of the time, I was an old, bearded, gabardined Jew in another age… on a bridge in Venice made immortal by the Bard.

Costumes duly arrived from Dublin; a make-up artist and his assistant from Mullingar… I glanced in a mirror: hey lad, that’s some beard you’re sprouting!

Two performances. The first for the locals from the village and surrounding areas. When I came out with “Three thousand ducats” there were incredulous whispers from the children in the front row: “Three thousand duck eggs!?

‘Threw me? Well… almost… But being an old pro…

Copyright © 2018 Sean Walsh

Lovingly crafted by Design for Writers