Tip Sheetby Cahir O'Doherty
- Making the leap from radio to stage, Beckett’s “All That Fall” is a delight
- Peter Quinn's new book 'Dry Bones' asks hard questions
- Eamon Morrisey’s “Maeve’s House” not too open
- The birth of a nation at the Rep, “Juno and the Peacock”
- Simple Minds, the other great Celtic band, play New York this week (VIDEOS)
By Samuel Beckett
59E59 Theaters, New York
Five minutes into the production of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall now playing at 59East59 Theaters in New York, I realized with some exhilaration that I was watching one of the greatest Irish plays I have ever seen.
It can be a murky business, living, and no one knows it better than Fintan Dunne, Peter Quinn’s incomparable Irish American detective.
In Dry Bones, the third and easily the finest part of the trilogy Quinn started with The Hour of the Cat, the author has crafted a cinematic spy tale that is crying out for the big screen (and may in fact appear there).
Written and performed by Eamon Morrissey
The Ireland that Irish writer Maeve Brennan left behind never really left her. No one knew this better than she did. In later years in New York she referred to herself as a “traveler in residence,” a nod to the fact that although she’d journeyed far from her first home in Ranelagh, South Dublin, it had already shaped her outlook and interior life.
If you’ve never seen Juno and the Paycock, Sean O’Casey’s wonderfully well-written tragicomedy about the individual human cost of the Irish Civil War, the new production at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York is about as perfect an introduction to the Irish classic as you could ever ask for.
The second work in O’Casey’s famous Dublin trilogy (which includes The Shadow of a Gunman and The Plough and the Stars) Juno provides a richly detailed portrait of the Irish nation emerging, if you could truthfully call it that, from the centuries-long nightmare of British colonialism.
In 12 Years a Slave, which opens on Friday, gifted actor Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a New York State citizen who is kidnapped and forced to work as a slave on a plantation in New Orleans in the 1830s.
At the start of the film Northup, who is a talented musician, is deprived of his liberty and separated from his adoring wife and family. For 12 harrowing years he is forced to live like a barn animal, under the watchful eye of cruel slave owners like Edwin Epps (magnificently played by Michael Fassbender) who would have no hesitation to hang or shoot him without a second thought.
The Seagull will perform at the Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theater, 45 Bleecker Street at Lafayette in New York. Call 866-811-4111.
The Séance Society
By Michael Nethercott
IT’S 1956 in Connecticut, and private investigator Lee Plunkett has enlisted the help of the man known universally as Mr. O’Nelligan to help him with an apparently unsolvable crime with a supernatural element.
Betrayal. It’s older than the Greeks. Its constant traveling companion, the desire for revenge, can burn so hot in some natures that it overrides all of their good sense with predictably disastrous results.
The Irish, just like the Greeks, know all about long cycles of betrayal and revenge, since we’ve been riding that hobbyhorse for centuries one way or another.
Irish playwright Brendan Behan lived his life like it was a form of protest, because it often actually was. Born to a working class family in Dublin, his life could very easily have been as difficult and circumscribed as the one his father had led save for one saving factor that changed everything -- his genius.
Because he came from far outside the leafy south Dublin suburbs, where becoming a writer was a much less revolutionary act, Behan was initially overlooked. He made good use of his own obscurity, turning it into a permission slip to flout every social code in the theocratic rulebook of the joyless Catholic gulag that Ireland was when he reached maturity.
If you already know Tennessee Williams’ iconic play The Glass Menagerie (now in previews on Broadway) then you’ll know that poor Laura Wingfield is probably destined to halt her way to eternity.
The truth is the play has been produced so often, with so many different interpretations, that it’s remarkable its lost none of its power to move. That’s probably because Williams seemed to have opened a vein to find the ink.
By Kevin C. Kearns
EXACTLY 100 years after the darkest year of the Great Hunger, another freakish phenomenon arrived to torment and kill the Irish poor. In January of 1947, just three years after the end of World War II, a bizarre anticyclonic weather event occurred and went on for two months.
Brendan at the Chelsea, a new play about the brilliant but self-destructive Irish genius Brendan Behan (written by his niece Janet Behan) will make its New York debut next month fresh from its successful run at the new Lyric Theatre in Belfast.
Last Sunday, July 28 I had the pleasure to attend a special Actors Fund performance of Motown The Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on West 46 Street.
Like most people, I've always been an ardent fan of the golden age of Motown. It's a matchless catalogue of hits that are still so fresh, so melodic and soulful that they work to lighten your mood faster than a fistful of Xanex.
Fingers: The Man Who Brought Down Irish Nationwide and Cost Us €5.4 Billion
By Tom Lyons and Richard Curran
When you allow your banks to become multi-billion euro property lending casinos, you should probably anticipate that the good times will inevitably come to an end.
Assassination and Commemoration
By Stephen Fagin
We will watch President John F. Kennedy’s fateful progress from the Dallas Love Field to Dealey Plaza until the end of time, I imagine. But not everyone shares our impulse to commemorate the events of that dreadful day.
On an Irish Island
By Robert Kanigel
Toward the end of the 19th century the native Irish language was being exiled to all but the most remote parts of the island. In fact sometimes it was literally driven off the land entirely to island communities like the Great Blasket.
As generations of Irish writers have warned us, nasty things can happen to you if you don’t fit the mold in small town Ireland. Ciaran Collins’ remarkable debut novel 'The Gamal' tells the story of one such misfit, exposing the dark heart of the Irish town he lives in along the way. Collins talks to Cahir O'Doherty about the critical hosannas that have greeted the book’s arrival and what inspired him to tell this dark tale.
Once in a while a novel from Ireland appears that has the power to make you reassess how you think and feel about the country. This year that head turning distinction belongs to Ciaran Collins, 35, the working school teacher whose debut novel 'The Gamal' has garnered more praise in six months that most authors hear in a lifetime.
On Friday, July 12 you’ll have a wonderful alternative to the watching the endless lines of bowler-hatted Orange men parading to a big drumbeat on the Internet and on satellite news.
If you’re in New York, why not pop down to the Irish Center in Long Island City, Queens to see a contrasting image of what’s possible when spirited Irish women decide to make a difference to their community.
If anyone knows about the irreversible process of cultural colonialism it’s the Irish. That’s why Ireland’s most iconoclastic young Irish theater director Matt Torney is a perfect fit to direct Stop the Tempo, a ferocious new work about displacement and drifting written by Romanian-born playwright Gianina Carbunariu.
After the fall of communism in 1989 Romania -- until that point a second tier communist state in the grip of the ruthless dictator Nicolae Ceausescu -- saw itself transformed overnight, becoming a sort of free market Petri dish suddenly brimming with corporations, easy cash, chain stores and chattering media personalities.
In Northern Ireland this is especially true. If ever there was a place where history keeps playing out on a loop tape over and over, it’s there.
So the most challenging thing you can do, in a place that’s reflexively repressive, is try to write your own story or step outside the one you’ve been handed at birth. Mold breakers more often find it’s themselves who are being broken there.
Ireland's growing cadre of first rate thriller writers is already a thing to marvel at, and Jane Casey is emerging as one of its most accomplished members. In 'The Last Girl' her nervy young detective Maeve Kerrigan sets out on her third (about to be bestselling) case, and this time it’s a murder at a well to do home.
The house happens to belong to defense attorney Phillip Kennford, a man who isn’t particularly beloved by the police for his tendency to get convicted criminals off the hook.
Casey excels at creating plot complications when you least expect them, and her characters continually throw up hooks and snares that you can’t see coming. She’s a born thriller writer.
The Catholic News Agency, which criticized the production since it opened, also slated Toibin as an ex-Catholic. The Testament Of Mary “depicted the Virgin Mary as a doubting skeptic who thought Jesus died in vain, and failed to attract a large audience and closed on Sunday less than two weeks after it opened,” they wrote.
By Racer Lynch
It hasn’t been two decades since the last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland closed in 1996. That’s well within the living memory of young adults. The question is, what to do with all that suffering now that its come to light?
Even now most would prefer to look the other way, exactly the way they used to when these unpaid gulags were in operation. The Irish government had to be browbeaten for years by a group of committed former inmates and their offspring before finally offering a full apology. That apology was offered in February 2013, by the way, just two months ago.
Try to book your tickets now because they're going to become sought after. This show delivers the best new musical on Broadway since The Book of Mormon broke the bank.
By Sean Sexton and Christine Kinealy
Sometimes a photograph can be a door you can walk through into the past. In The Irish: A Photohistory, Sean Sexton and Christine Kinealy have assembled one of the most evocative and moving collections of the life of the Irish over the past two centuries that I have ever seen.
The first Irish photographs date from 1840, six years before the unforeseen catastrophe that would come to define the tragedy of British colonialism in Ireland.
By Benjamin Black
Benjamin Black is the pen name of award winning Irish novelist and Booker Prize winner John Banville, which means that the prose stylings of this impressively literary whodunit (and the focus on fully realized characters) are much finer than the genre usually affords.
By J.P. Mallory
About 80 million people trace their origins to Ireland. The question that hasn’t really been asked in nearly 80 years is how did the Irish people come into being themselves?
for tickets and showtimes.
The Nice born French pastry chef became a world class chocolatier right here in New York City after challenging himself to create an exciting new dessert repertoire.
In 2009, Payard opened the François Chocolate Bar, and since then the former James Beard Foundation pastry chef of the year has been delighting new Yorkers with his chocolate and seasonal fruit menus.
By Geraldine Comiskey
Ireland is the acknowledged home of surrealism and Geraldine Comiskey (a roving reporter for the Sunday World) often has occasion to encounter it at its source.
Having a journalistic resume that includes getting set on fire by stuntmen, dancing on the wings of a World War II bi-plane (well, who hasn’t?) and joining a circus trapeze troupe, she’s clearly ready for anything.
The 1st Irish Theatre Festival deserves accolades for bringing these talents to an American stage, and Irish drama has been enriched by their appearance.
Prodigals And Geniuses
By Brendan Lynch
The Irish love a good pub within walking reach and Ireland’s most gifted artists and thinkers have been no exception. As Paris has it’s Left Bank and New York has its Upper West Side, for decades Dublin’s bohemian quarter has been centered around Baggot Street and Leeson Street, fringed by the Grand Canal.
Among it’s familiars were four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature and nearly every major Irish writer of the 19 century, including Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and even Samuel Beckett.