Join us for a reading of John B. Keane's Letters of a Matchmaker. These are the letters of a country matchmaker, Kerryman Dicky Mick Dicky O'Connor as he corresponds with a variety of lonely rural males and females eager to find a mate.
Once upon a time, in rural villages in Ireland the matchmaker would make introductions and bring desperate bachelors and lonely women together. Keane saw the function of a matchmaker as a necessary one, particularly in the West of Ireland. Traditional reserve and the demands of rural living often meant people 'missed the boat' and ended up in a lonely condition, warming themselves alone by a fire in a farmhouse in the evenings. Emigration reeked desolation on rural communities and those who stayed to toil on the land and struggle against the elements were left with slim pickings. Sound familiar? Often they weren't even in a position to consider courtship until they'd inherited land, often they wouldn't have known what to do with it if they had.
The letters are comedic, yet as we all know, there's nothing humorous about loneliness and the absurdity of how Irish people deal with their repressed feelings is mined for comedy gold by the rapier sharp wit of John B. Keane. Using his inimitable way with words and his one sense of "devilment" and wit, Keane delves into the longings, hungers, fears and foibles of this collection of lonely county people and creates a marvelously colorful world, taking us back to a simpler time, when phones were few and far between and the only web was one left behind by spiders.