27 May 2022

Donal O’ Kelly: Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son comes to The Dock

Donal O’ Kelly: Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son comes to The Dock

Donal O'Kelly

Donal O’ Kelly: Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son comes to The Dock  on Wednesday, November 21.

To celebrate 30 years since its premiere, Donal O'Kelly is touring his award-winning play ‘Bat the Father Rabbit the Son’. First presented by Rough Magic for the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1988. Irish artist Robert Ballagh designed the original set and costumes. Bat has toured to New York, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, Australia and New Zealand. Donal O’ Kelly: Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son will be at the Dock Arts Centre in Carrick on Shannon on Wed 21st  November.

“I don’t know where Rabbit sprang from. I wrote him as a character based on hundreds I saw in loud pinstripe suits running Dublin in the 80s. The self-made men who, instead of recognizing the obstacles they overcame and working out ways of reducing them for others, pretended their success proved no such class obstacles existed.”

Donal O’Kelly is a writer and actor. His much-travelled solo plays include the award-winning Catalpa (Edinburgh Fringe First, London Time Out Critics’ Choice, Best Event Melbourne International Festival), Bat The Father Rabbit The Son (Best Writer and Best Actor nominations Irish Theatre Awards), and Jimmy Joyced! (Best Actor nomination Irish Theatre Awards).  He has twice been awarded an Irish Arts Council literature bursary, and in 1999 was awarded the Irish American Cultural Institute Butler Literary Award. He is co-director of Benbo Productions (formerly Donal O'Kelly Productions), which he set up in 2000. He was a founder and for ten years until 2003 a director of Calypso Productions, and he is an associate director of the peace and justice organisation Afri. In 2007 he was elected to Aosdána.

“Thirty years later, I’m doing it all again. And it doesn’t feel like a nostalgia trip. The bank bailout and our deliberate impoverishment as a citizenry is rooted in the mindset of that 80s generation – the sons of the founding fathers of the state.”

It's Dublin in the 1980s. Rabbit is a self-made haulage magnate. But something's wrong. He cuts a deal with his underling Keogh to help him find his lost moorings. The quest is hampered by his dead father Bat, Citizen Army volunteer and pawn shop assistant, bubbling up. The struggle spans Dublin and is an explosive exposition of the generation of Irish men that led us to Boom and Bust. 'Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son' is more pertinent than ever. Their voyage out of Howth and up the River Liffey builds to a climax described by The Guardian as “one of the strongest dramatic conclusions I’ve ever seen”.

Donal O’Kelly’s relentlessly engaging script and impressive performance is awash with subtle hints at exposition and backstory amongst Rabbit’s bluster and declaration, while making room for irreverent and mischievous storytelling throughout. O’Kelly is a virtuoso at one-hander plays, having scooped another Fringe First Award, in 2013, for Fionnuala, which is about the Corrib Gas controversy. Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son is a must see, an irrepressible feat of storytelling that explores the relationship between father and son, and past and present with insight, humour and verve.

Tickets for this performance of Donal O’ Kelly: Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son are €16 /14 and available now on 0719650828 or at

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