Pillow on the Stairs

By Brona Creehan

THE truth is rarely pure and never simple Oscar Wilde once wrote memorably, and this idea animates every scene of playwright Brona Crehan’s new play Pillow on the Stairs.

As three Irish characters reflect on the same events whilst quietly offering diverging takes, in the process calling to mind the deeper notion that what you see can largely depend on where you stand.

Onstage John McConnell, Jacqueline Kealy and Crehan herself reflect on what happens when an unplanned pregnancy sets off a chain of events that will affect and alter each of their lives.

What follows is a very recognizably Irish web of family silences, secrets and denials that binds this trio of ordinary, flawed individuals together for a lifetime.

Directed by the gifted Irish Rep regular John Keating, expect a sensitive exploration of the social attitudes that can heal and sunder relationships forever.

Pillow on the Stairs runs until February 28 at the Cell Theatre, 338 West 23rd Street. Tickets $30, available at 800-838-3006> FREE or www.thecelltheatre.org.

"A Sacrilegious Lesbian" And Homosexual Parade

By Brian Fleming

You have to hand it to playwright and performer Brian Fleming. He certainly knows how to craft a truly eye-catching title.

Arriving direct from Ireland after a sell-out run at the 2014 Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, Fleming’s solo show runs from February 19-March 9 for six shows only at Under St. Marks as part of the Frigid New York Festival.

Combining spoken word, costume, projection, live music and dance, A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade promises to take you on an unforgettable romp through the 14 years of Irish LGBT celebration and struggle associated with New York’s only all-inclusive St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens (the progressive alternative to the city’s staunchly conservative St. Patrick’s Day march up Fifth Avenue).

Presented just months before Ireland votes on marriage equality, the timing is fortuitous. Fleming is actually a straight Irishman who has traveled from Co. Clare each March to participate in (and be enthralled by) the charm and passion that has driven the St. Pat’s for All parade since 2001, having completed his own MA thesis about it in 2014.

The play’s eye-popping title was culled from a sign that an elderly Irish woman waved at him along the parade route in its early days. After he stopped laughing he realized what an insult she was delivering, one completely at odds with her gentle appearance. Just to be gay was blasphemous, she was saying.

Fleming, a gifted theater maker, specializes in Irish and West African percussion and has recorded over 40 albums and performed with many well-known Irish musicians including Davy Spillane and The Chieftains, and international artists such as Mamady Keita and the Afro-Irish group Tig Linn.

He’s also credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the creator of the “Millennium Drum,” the world’s largest drum, and has played in every country in Western Europe and in Scandinavia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, the U.S., Japan, India, Thailand, Singapore, Cuba, Gambia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Korea.

The author and performer of three successful one-man theatre shows with unforgettable titles like Gis a Shot of Your Bongos Mister (2011), Have Yis No Homes to Go To (2013), and now A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade has played sell-out performances at venues around Ireland and in New York.

A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade has been called an Irish fringe favorite filled with belly laughs. “Fleming is a powerhouse solo performer” and his show is “original and sweet,” wrote The Irish Times.

The play performs at Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place. Tickets are available for purchase at The Kraine Theater box office at 85 East 4th Street or online at www.frigidnewyork.info.