'The Irish and How They Got That Way", at the Irish Rep

Sixteen Irish playwrights will have their work featured in the 1st Irish 2010 theater festival in New York next month, the third festival in a now annual series, beginning on September 7 across Manhattan.

The plays will include 'Prophet of Monto' by John Paul Murphy, which charts a wild ride through Dublin's mean streets with two free spirited twin brothers. Everything changes when they meet the hard boiled Prophet who quickly comes between them.

'Three Irish Widows Versus The Rest of the World,' written and performed by Ed Malone is spirited story of three Irish widows who vow to let it all hang out on a whirlwind trip to Spain, New York and India in search of romance and adventure.

'Absolution' by Owen O’Neill, addresses Ireland's clerical sex abuse scandals in an incendiary 90 minute play by the Perrier Award nominated performer and playwright.

Playwright Gary Duggan's accomplished work is a continued highlight of the 1st Irish Festival and in 'Trans-Euro Express' he follows an aspiring filmmaker, a singer-songwriter, an actress and an artist embarking on an epic journey by Euro-rail. Expect dark humor and surprises.

Aidan Matthew's play 'Exit/Entrance' is a highly theatrical examination of the lives of Charles, a retired classics professor, and his wife Helen as they toast their long life together. In Act Two, in a similar apartment, a much younger couple, also called Charles and Helen, are eagerly beginning their life together. Are these the same people 40 years ago? Or who are they?

'Guy Walks Into A Bar' is playwright Don Creedon's savage and very funny play about male desire and the futility that often accompanies it. If you've ever looked for love in all the wrong places (for all the wrong reasons) you'll laugh with recognition at this jet black comedy.

'Wife to James Whelan' is an intriguing revival of unknown Irish playwright Teresa Deevy's early 1930's work about star-crossed lovers and their possibly futile search for happiness. This revival of this once celebrated but now largely forgotten playwright is a welcome opportunity to appraise her work once more.

'The Holy Ground' is Irish playwright Dermot Bolger's examination of a disastrous marriage and the effect it has on a long suffering wife who finally learns to stand up for herself. The play is performed by Katherine O'Sullivan, best actress nominee in the 1st Irish Festival in 2009.

'Ardnaglass On The Air' is as country fresh as a lock o' spuds and every bit as satisfying. When the barmaid and a pig farmer who run a rural community radio station get a whiff that their dreams of fame and fortune might be on the verge of coming true, chaos ensues. Directed by actress and writer Geraldine Hughes.

'The Map of Lost Things,' by Darragh Martin is a A funny, dark and lyrical reworking of eight Celtic tales with a modern twist, by acclaimed young playwright (the show is also highly suitable for children).

'Rat in the Skull,' by Ron Hutchinson, is a snapshot of the Troubles during their most incendiary period. The play asks why a detective from the former Royal Ulster Constabulary botch the interrogation of a suspected I.R.A. bomber held in a London jail, leading to his release?

'Beowulf,' in a translation by Irish Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, will receive a staged reading at The Irish Historical Society.

'Hue and Cry,' by Deirdre Kinahan, follows two Dublin cousins who are reunited on the eve of a family funeral in a highly charged encounter full of disillusion and dark laughter. Presented by the Irish Repertory Theatre.

'This Is What We Sang' is set on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, as five family members seek absolution for their past. As they relate the tale of their lives, their secrets and sins, they tell the story of Belfast, the city they made home.

The third edition of the festival, scheduled to run through October 4, will also include a symposium on contemporary Irish theater on September 25, with the Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes among the speakers. Details about the festival can be found at 1stIrish.org.