After mulling the story over for more than 20 years, Robert Winslow is pleased to have this very personal story go public in the 4th Line’s August play entitled “The History of Drinking in Cavan”. Research began in earnest in 2011 with a “Reminiscence” event he hosted at the Millbrook Legion. Community elders including Laverne Gibson and Dorothy Stevens got together to share their stories about alcohol consumption in the early days. The anecdotes began with laughter, but to his surprise, the conversation soon turned sober. Robert took his direction from there and in fact, some of the dialogue comes directly from those interviews.
The play examines alcohol consumption (and lack thereof) from the early settlement of the township to modern day. Robert refers to it as a parody that incorporates a serious message about addiction and alcohol served with a healthy dose of humour. The style swerves all over the place, incorporating verbatim dialogue as well as dream sequences.
The setting in this play has a more powerful role than usual, as some scenes actually take place at the Winslow Farm and include Winslow’s late parents, Jean and Lawrence, and Robert himself is in all of the scenes.
Local residents will remember some of the characters in the play bearing names like Tinney, Natress and Jillott, but all of the audience will recognize the roles in the play, such as town drunk. Like all good theatre, the story is about individuals but addresses an important issue, one that is both personal and universal. KG