Three exciting new Irish productions roll into New York over the next few weeks. Two of them come direct from Ireland and open this week; one is written by an Irish playwright but produced by a distinguished American theater company in New York.
First up is Forgotten, written by and starring Pat Kinevane, which opens on Wednesday, February 17 at the Irish Arts Center. Each of the four characters Kinevane plays are well into their eighties, two are women and two are men, and his play examines the ways in which each of them has become alienated from the crass and forgetful modern Ireland that no longer has any use for them.
If you’re thinking that sounds about as much fun as a holiday in Portrush in mid-November, think again. Kinevane has crafted a subtle, touching and often hilarious play that dazzles everyone who sees it.
Directed by Jim Culleton of Fishamble, the new Irish theater company that’s giving the Druid a run for their money, the show is a combination of familiar Irish themes and dazzling spectacle that in grand Irish tradition will have you roaring with laughter one minute and moved to tears the next.
Kinevane is a singular talent, and Forgotten is one of the most intriguing works produced in the Irish theater this decade and it deserves a wide audience.
Asked what inspired the work, Kinevane told the Irish Voice, “I visited my aunt in a very nice nursing home and I just saw rows and rows of elderly people there, and I remember thinking, I bet some of them have no visitors and some of them are completely forgotten. So that idea is what made me sit down and write this.”
Originally Kinevane wrote the play for eight characters, but over time it took its final shape, with the playwright and actor, who’s originally from Cobh, Co. Cork, stepping in to perform it as a solo show, with the end result that the story connected more readily with audiences. Catch it this week during its limited run at the Irish Arts Center (www.irishartscenter.org).
This week Co. Leitrim’s Drumkeerin Drama Group is also set to bring its first production to the Big Apple. The play is Widows’ Paradise by Ulster folk playwright Sam Cree, and it’s a surefire crowd pleaser.
When five men and five women find themselves sharing one caravan, it only takes a twinkle of imagination to conjure up the shenanigans.
The play is being staged for one night only at St. Barnabas High School Chapel Auditorium, 425 East 240th Street, the Bronx on Friday, February 19.
The play is arriving in the Bronx in response to an invitation from a group of dedicated Drumkeerin people living in New York, anxious to show off their local pride. Let that achievement inspire every other parish in the country -- after all, the big time is just one plane ride away.
The theatre company’s is coming over from Ireland for one night only – so there is no number to call for tickets to tonight’s show. Instead, you can buy tickets at the door when you come along tonight! As the hall seats 700 people, getting a ticket is not anticipated to be a problem – so come along and enjoy!
Meanwhile, what do Superman, Batman and Luke Skywalker have in common? The answer is centuries ago in Ireland they were all known as Finn Mac Cool.
Mythic heroes usually share common ancestries, and which ancestor could be more impressive than the superhumanly strong and fiendishly cunning Irish superhero Finn?
In celebration Mabou Mines, the acclaimed New York based theater ensemble, unveils the world premiere of Finn, a digital and live-action adventure based on the ancient Celtic legend of Finn McCool opening on Thursday, March 4 at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place) in time for the St. Patrick’s Day season.
Asked what inspired her to direct this stirring tale director Sharon Fogarty told the Irish Voice, “I had this Irish grandmother when I was a kid and she told us stories of Finn and Cu Chulainn and they invaded my imagination. I have a son who’s turning 16 next week and he’s fascinated with movies and video games that are completely full of myth.
“It seems to me that myth is a very strong part of the cultural imagination of young boys growing up now. So Finn McCool was this great Irish hero, he had to learn how to become the captain of the Fianna. We’re doing the legend of Finn, his boyhood quest and his journey to manhood. He has to go though certain trials to earn the right to be the leader.”
Ireland’s Jocelyn Clark is the playwright and the show should not be missed. Visit www.skirballcenter.nyu.edu/calendar/finn.