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In the Middle of the Fields

In the Middle of the Fields

In the Middle of the Fields

In the Middle of the Fields

‘In the Middle of the Fields’

In Bective Mill

By Mary Lavin (1912 – 1996)

Story of young widow running a farm


‘In The Middle of The Fields’ by Mary Lavin was staged at Bective Mill right opposite Mary Lavin’s home place, on Friday 4th August 2023. Starring Kathy Rose O’Brien, Mark O’Regan, Seamus Moran and director Joan Sheehy brought to life helped by a creative team.. We were literally in an open-sided tent next to the fast flowing River Boyne where the river gives and the river takes. SOFT representatives took the opportunity to view and appraise it all. By the way SoFFT Productions (with an extra F!) have announced details of In The Middle of The Fields, a series of films celebrating the extraordinary life and work of Irish writer Mary Lavin. The three films will be premiered on Hot Press YouTube channel during the month of August.

Mary Lavin’s ‘In The Middle of The Fields’ is a powerful story. It was performed under a large, stretchy tent so that performers and audience experienced a unique, atmospheric, encounter literally in the middle of a field. The story was presented word for word in an innovative staging with live music. The props were rather sparse giving it a somewhat Shakspearean experience.

Kathleen McMahon granddaughter of Mary Lavin was at the event as well as other family members to help give support and voice to bring this production to a wider audience. Kathleen is a writer and former radio and television journalist who worked with RTE.

The outdoor staging of this production is what makes it really special. It’s a story that lives and breathes its surroundings. To see it performed, literally, in the middle of the fields was magical in Bective where Mary Lavin lived and wrote, and where the story is set.

The story revolves around a young widow Vera (Kathy Rose O’Brien) who has a strong independent spirit with small children living alone on a farm.

She needs some help with the land which is what brings her married neighbour Bartley Crossen (Seamus Moran) to her door on the recommendation of trusted farm hand Ned (Mark O’Regan). The encounter one night with Bartley becomes emotionally charged posing questions about past passions in a shifting and surprising story that left us captivated.

By day Bartley works the farm that Vera owns, but things change when he calls to her farmhouse at night, and everything that is said or not said between them has tension.

Vera has the vulnerability of a woman who finds herself alone in her prime and perhaps looks for something more and Bartley brings a sense of what that more could be.

Tone here is everything and the twists and turns orchestrated between Vera and Bartley leaves the audience to draw their own conclusions.