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Irish arts events light up New York’s October

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Irish actor, writer and director Tim Ruddy joins a heavily Irish cast in Thomas Kilroy’s version of The Seagull this week.
Irish actor, writer and director Tim Ruddy joins a heavily Irish
cast in Thomas Kilroy’s version of The Seagull this week.

Stoked Fest, an exciting new one-day film festival for kids brought to you by the people behind the long running Craic Irish Film Festival, is scheduled for October19 at the Long Beach Hotel on Long Island.

If you live on the island you don’t need to be told about the sucker punch that Hurricane Sandy delivered to the locals. Certainly Stoked Fest organizer Terence Mulligan doesn’t need to be told, since his own home like a thousand others was damaged in the unprecedented floods.

Mulligan says his new festival is planned as part of the ongoing revitalization of Long Beach in the aftermath of the hurricane. To that end Stoked Fest wisely puts the spotlight on the island’s youngest inhabitants.

But this is a real film festival, which means a bit of Hollywood style pizzazz will be included to create the right atmosphere. That means you may want to get your youngest family members gussied up, because there will be a red carpet to walk when the kids enter the hotel.

The night is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with kids walking the red carpet in front of the paparazzi. Polaroid pictures will be taken of your nearest and dearest on the carpet. (They can pick up the pictures after the short screenings). You may have to contend with some limelight hugging divas trying to outdo each other, but you expected that.

“We wanted to make this inaugural festival fun and interactive for the kids and families,” Mulligan told the Irish Voice.

“Expect to see specially selected shorts and recent award-winners such as Granny O’Grimm and the Boy in the Bubble together with some recent Oscar nominated shorts such as Pentecost.”

Presented by Jet Blue, which will be raffling two round trip tickets on its airline, Stoked Fest will keep the spotlight on Irish short films. “Long Beach needed a kids festival, and there are a lot of Irish and Irish Americans in the Long Beach and Rockaway area,” added Mulligan. “It makes sense the first year to do a spotlight on Irish short films that are kid friendly.”

Free Zico water and munchies for the kids and families will be provided. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 kids. Kids under five attend free. For more information and detailed shorts films contact 917-373-6735 or visit www.stokedfest.com.

The Seagull was playwright Anton Chekov’s breakthrough drama, the first of his four great masterworks, and this week beginning on Thursday, October 10 at the Culture Project a 1981 translation by Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy will tread the boards.

Featuring a cast that includes some stellar Irish talent including Stella Feehily, Ryan David O’Byrne, Amanda Quaid, Tim Ruddy and Kenneth Ryan, Kilroy’s East Galway set version unfolds in a classic Anglo Irish setting instead of Russia, and it reappraises the classic play through an Irish lens and through the medium of Hiberno Irish.

Kilroy sets his version of Chekov’s masterpiece in 1886 Ireland, in the era of the Land League amid the inexorable decline of the Anglo-Irish estates. By doing so he unearths glaring parallels in the tectonic shifts in Russian and Irish society that comment on Chekhov’s original in unexpectedly telling ways.

Tackling a classic play and its universal themes while at the same time uncovering entirely new and unexpected social and political angles that illuminate the Irish struggle is why Kilroy’s version matters and why it is still frequently performed.

It will be interesting to see such a large company of distinguished Irish actors on the same stage as they tackle this challenging material and filter it through their own experience as Irish citizens. It also reminds us that many of the best Irish actors now call New York home rather than Dublin.

Kilroy is himself one of Ireland’s most distinguished playwrights of the 20th century, with 13 stage plays to his credit which include The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche and The Shape of Metal (which was performed at 59 East 59 Street Theatre as part of the 1st Irish Theatre Festival).

The Seagull will perform at the Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theater, 45 Bleecker Street at Lafayette in New York. Call 866-811-4111.

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