The Cloontia Mummers
"We are the mummers that beat all we meet"
Mummers speak for life, action, fun, brightness and happiness. The Mummers are a symbolic essay on the drama of social interchange. They cannot be reduced to a tool to serve a single purpose. They exist in themselves as an art and like any art present themselves without answering profound philosophical problems. You are threatened with their bawdy entrance in your own home. The Christmas Mummers then ask for admittance to give you a play in which the struggle is represented by name calling, abuse, fighting, leading to bodily harm, death and remorse. They present entertainment, sport, codding, fighting, music and also efforts at charity and support for the underdog. Acting which kills boredom and passes the time is not a bad ally As entertainment it is a harmless, happy interaction. As a sport it moves towards the edge of danger. They bring dramatic action putting the mirror up to social reality itt their story, the protagonists menace each other, as do Prince George and Rim Rhyme. The rnummers display the community’s genuine potential for violence, but contain it, subdue it and resolve it in entertainment, music and drama. The Doctor is the spirit or sprite of the mummers. There is this mysterious murmuring artistic speech. The doctor’s charm is an example. He resurrects and heals the victims and eases the conscience of the victors. His charms bring them tack to life and friendship. The victims resiliently rises up to fight again. The Mummers encouraged feelings of community with entertainment, after separation by tribal divisions, personality difference, geographic isolation, different beliefs, politics and past failures. They use political opposites to bring the pure idea of conflict to the surface as believable dissonance. They keep death’s company but deny its dominion. Death is conquered by life This rebirth enables social healing and integration which revitalises all.
They appear in Mid-winter, the bad, dark time of year. They called at the lowest, leanest time of year to ensure agricultural and human fertility and survival. They brought the dimension of luck to the cli-mate of courtship. They probably originated in Celtic, prehistoric times They represent all the community’s potential for hostile confrontation. They deal with the dichotomies of life and death that are resolved in peace. There must be a tension palpable between the divisions presented Pay them and make a pact with them-bond with them. In turn you give them money so they can give you a party where you and themselves can mingle exchanging entertainment in a party night later on, The idea now is to bring Christmas spirit to each house. The closing wish is for a year of good luck and happiness. Origins of the Mummers: They are very like the Irish Wrenboys Procession. This form was made to fit the contemporary culture. and was useful in terms of local needs and wishes, Mummers expose the anxieties and hopes they shared as pioneers in an unsure Ireland. In Mumming, the deep divisions in Irish political life are concretised in the imagery. Mumming is found In South Wexford, Ulster, North Dublin that is the Pale and early Norman areas. The rituals ate differ-ent in the different areas. Wexford Mummers, a bit like Morris Dancers, do a ritual sword fighting to Irish music with no commentary or rhyming, wheteas Ulster Mummers have drama like us but reverse the victims and would include fife and drum etc. The ritual resembles ours more or less except that we use Irish music and song