Monday, 4 August 2014

“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” is one of many plays to check out in Cow Head

by Keith and Heather Nicol    
      We recently were fortunate to see “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” which was written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Jeff Pitcher. This is one of 6 performances performed at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival  this summer in Cow Head in Gros Morne National Park.  What we like about Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s (TNL) philosophy is that they either perform plays about Newfoundland and Labrador or plays that have a close connection to the province. Although “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” takes place in rural Ireland its theme of isolation certainly could resonate with residents of outport  Newfoundland. This black comedy was first produced in 1996 and was nominated for 6 Tony awards (it won 4) for its 1998 Broadway production. The play takes place in a shabby kitchen of an isolated house in Leenane, Ireland in the early 1990’s. We loved the set with its working stove and sink and we thought all 4 actors, Claire Hewlett, Jennifer Furlong, Evan Mercer and Mark Bradbury did a fine job portraying how closeness can create its own contempt. The plot is full of deceptions, secrets and betrayals and expectations are raised only to be dashed.  “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” is first class theatre. For more information on TNL’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival schedule or to book tickets to a show see- or call 1-877-243-2899. 
Jennifer Furlong (left) and Claire Hewlett play daughter and mother in "Beauty"

 While you are in Cow Head be sure to leave time to hike to “The Head” using the Lighthouse Trail. This has become one of our favourite community trails in Gros Morne National Park since it has loads of variety. There are magical sections through the wind sculpted forest, lovely grassy meadows, rugged wave washed limestone cliffs and coves and even a couple of lookout platforms. And did we mention the lighthouse that the trail passes by. It was built in 1909 and was restored in 2002. To reach the start of the Lighthouse Trail take the road across the isthmus and take the first left turn up to a parking lot where you will see an amphitheatre. The trail starts at the side of the parking lot at 21 U 0441609 E 5530037 N and follows a broad 2 km loop back to the parking lot. There are short side trails to the Steering Island lookout and Spring Beach which we recommend doing as well. Also there is a longer 1.5 km (return) trail to the Point of the Head and this is also a must do if you have the time. The scenery at the Point of the Head is superb and it is a great lunch spot. If you want a map that provides information about the Lighthouse Trail be sure to pick one up at the Dr. Henry N. Payne museum in Cow Head. The museum is also well worth a visit and if go to it on Wednesday afternoon’s from 1:30 – 3:30 pm you can try your hand at rug hooking. 
The scenery at the Point of Head trail is spectacular

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