Off The Record by Mike Farragher
A cell for Irish theater - “Blood” and “Dancing at Lunacy”
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 at 08:25 AM
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The Cell Theatre (338 West 23rd Street; 646-861-2253) combines the one-act plays of Black 47’s Larry Kirwan and Seamus Scanlon, writer of Irish short stories, into an evening of provocative, inimitably Irish theater.
Kirwan’s Blood is based on the actual disappearance of James Connolly, trade union organizer and leader of the Irish Citizen Army on January 19, 1916. He returned four days later, his only comment, “I have been through hell.”
Connolly had been captured by the rival Irish Republican Brotherhood, led by Padraig Pearse and Sean McDermott. What happened in that small room changed the course of Irish history.
Sixty-eight years later in another room – a drinking club in Belfast – in the aftermath of the hunger strikes and the bombing of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, a no-less tense situation plays out. Scanlon’s Dancing at Lunacy, set in 1984, centers on an IRA internal security investigation. The alleged informer and an aging commanding officer are confronted by a young sociopath with a penchant for pistols, the Sex Pistols, pogoing, Barry’s Tea and ruthless efficiency.
Dancing at Lunacy and Blood explore the highly charged issue of Irish Republicanism and how it still affects the Irish psyche.
The engagement begins on March 1. Visit www.thecelltheatre.org for information.
In other Black 47 news, the band takes to the road for their 22nd St. Patrick’s Day season on March 1.
The tour will be anchored around their annual St. Patrick’s Day gig at BB Kings in New York City.
The band recently released A Funky Ceili, a must-have collection of 18 of their best-known up-tempo and humorous tracks, along with Bankers and Gangsters, 12 new topical and political songs.
On this tour they will play songs from across their career and, at some gigs, perform their best selling CD Fire of Freedom in its entirety. For more information, visit www.black47.com