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Brona Crehan Photo by: Handout

In Focus: Brona Crehan talks about her play ‘Pillow on the Stairs’

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Brona Crehan Photo by: Handout

Background: Crehan, originally from Dublin, works for a real estate investment firm in New York, and is the author of a play called Pillow on the Stairs.

When did you come to the U.S?  

“I came originally on a J-1 visa in 1988.  I had come from my first year at university in France and loved the freedom of New York City.  I couldn't believe that you could do your laundry at midnight or grocery shopping at four in the morning if you wanted to.  In France, there was a time and a place for everything and I found that quite limiting and depressing actually.  In New York, I literally believed anything was possible.  I came back every summer until I graduated and returned for good with a Morrison visa in 1993.”

You have two young boys. What do they think of Ireland when they visit?  

“They love it.  We don't have any family here so they are the center of attraction when we go to Ireland.  They love that they can see their cousins, grannies, great granny, etc., on a regular basis and can just drop in on them.” 

Apart from family and friends, what do you miss most about Ireland?  

“I left Ireland in 1986 and I have spent more time out of it than in it, and so I don't feel I really know the Ireland of today.  Whenever I am there, though, I am reminded of the early eighties.  Sometimes it's a smell, the light, the rain, the sound of a phone ringing. I know that sounds hokey but those things bring me right back to when I lived there and sometimes I am nostalgic for those days.”

You recently wrote a play, Pillow on the Stairs. What was your inspiration?

“I wrote a piece for Poor Mouth Theatre's recent ‘Puttin' on Yer Shorts’ at the Beal Bocht in Riverdale.  Based on feedback I got for it, I decided to expand it.  It was originally a 10 minute ‘monodrama’ and gave one person's perspective on a decision that changed three lives forever.  It is now a full-length play that tells the story from each side.  Everyone's experience of the same thing is different and all that.”

Is the play being staged?

“We are having a reading of it on July 30 at Glucksman Ireland House at 7 p.m. Admission is free but reservations are recommended.  Call 914-320-6494 for more details.”

Who is your favorite Irish playwright?  

“I like a lot of the contemporary writers -- Enda Walsh, Roddy Doyle, Paul Mercier, Dermot Bolger (can you sense a Dublin theme?), but I think if I absolutely had to choose I would say Sean O'Casey would be my favorite.  I think I gravitate towards the tragicomedies!  I remember the very first play I saw on Broadway.  It was the Abbey's production of Juno and the Paycock and I thought it was magical.”

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