Happy New Year, and thank you for being an Irish Rep member! In this winter edition of our quarterly Member Newsletter, see inside the rehearsal studio of Lady G, read Ciarán’s thoughts on our special presentations of The Scourge and Incantata, see photos from our Member Holiday Open House, and more.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your other membership benefits! Book tickets to our upcoming productions, visit our partner restaurants for member discounts, and look out for announcements of new shows, member pre-sales, discounts, and special events in your inbox!
An Award from President Michael D. Higgins
On November 21, 2019, Irish Rep founders Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly were awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad from President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin, in recognition for their work serving the Irish community in New York City.
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina had previously visited Irish Rep in September 2019 and enjoyed a performance of Dublin Carol.
Ciarán O’Reilly, President Michael D. Higgins, and Charlotte Moore at Áras an Uachtaráin, the President’s official residence in Dublin.
For more information about the Award and other 2019 recipients, click here.
Bringing Irish Theatre to New York
This winter, two productions will transfer directly from Ireland to New York – The Scourge and Incantata. Curious to know more about these shows and why Irish Rep has included them in this season? Producing Director Ciarán O’Reilly shared some insights.
Can you give a little background on The Scourge?
The Scourge comes by way of the Wexford Arts Festival, whose Executive Director, Elizabeth Whyte is an Irish Rep alumna. She acted here in several shows, and also worked in the administration. Elizabeth called with this exciting project that had premiered some months before in Wexford and had been directed by Ben Barnes, former Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre. We were drawn to the project I suppose because of the universality of the subject matter. Its star Michelle Dooley Mahon had written a bestselling book of the same title about her experiences dealing with her mother’s decent into the dark world of Alzheimer’s. She had adapted it for the stage and starred in the play herself. There is something very powerful about witnessing a story first hand —especially one like this where she poignantly relates how one can lose a loved one before they are gone. It seemed an important piece for our audience to see and had won some extraordinary accolades from the press in Ireland.
What is the 1st Irish Festival and how does The Scourge tie in with it?
The Origin 1st Irish Festival is 12 years old and was founded by George Heslin, the Artistic Director of Origin Theatre. His idea was, and still is, that for 2-3 weeks in January, new Irish plays would be presented as part of the 1st Irish Festival – for most, this would be the first time these plays were seen in the US. The Scourge arrives to us under the umbrella of this festival which works out all the challenging details of emigration and travel. It really is a great gift to both the artists who get international exposure and to the host companies that can present this new work from abroad.
I’ve heard Incantata is not a traditional play, but a poem. What should I expect?
Well I would not call it a poem —it’s more like based on a poem —and a very powerful one at that. Paul Muldoon had a deep relationship with the visual artist Mary Farl Powers and when she died from cancer at a young age, Paul’s response was to write a beautiful elegy in her memory. It touches on many moments they shared, and has its own unique narrative. I need to be clear that the poem was the starting point in creating a show that uses many dazzling multimedia elements to tell Paul’s story with his departed lover. It has music, dance, videography, visual arts and Paul Muldoon being Paul Muldoon has references that are wide and wonderful. You are as likely to see Greek myths mixed with The Grateful Dead. It all slides in and out in Paul Muldoon’s mind, because that’s just the way he thinks. It also has so much of Beckett’s work within the play itself. Come and see a show where art is actually created as you’re watching it on the stage. The actor is actually creating prints made from potatoes and paints. Where else are you going to see that?
Sounds like a complicated show. Who are the artists?
It’s a great team: a wonderful new hot director. Sam Yates just directed Matthew Broderick in Kenny Lonergan’s play in the West End, he’s really an up and coming guy. Stanley Townsend, the only actor in the show, is one of Ireland’s greatest – he created so many of the Conor McPherson plays, he was the original lead in Girl from the North Country. He was premiered Shining City and you will instantly recognize him from the hundreds of movie he has appeared in.
Should I read Incantata before I come to see it?
It depends. The show absolutely stands on its own and is yours to discover even if you know nothing about its original source. Over the past few seasons when we were doing James Joyce’s The Dead as immersive theatre, I often recommended people to read it in advance. There are reading pleasures to be had pre or post show. When I saw it at the Gate Theatre in Ireland, I witnessed many in the audience who had never read it, and I watched them weep throughout the show and stand as one for the final ovation.
The Scourge plays in the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre January 22 – February 2. Complementary member tickets are not available for this production.
Incantata plays on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage February 18 – March 15.
Inside the Rehearsal Studio: Lady G
The upcoming play Lady G is an intimate production developed from Lady Gregory’s personal writings and overlooked plays, including the US premiere of McDonough’s Wife, last performed at The Abbey Theatre in 1912. This new production explores the life and legacy of Lady Augusta Isabella Gregory, the grand dame of Irish Theatre.
Adapted and directed by Ciarán O’Reilly, the cast features Irish Rep regulars (and favorites) Úna Clancy, Terry Donnelly, John Keating, and James Russell. The photos below offer a glimpse into the first day of rehearsal for Lady G.
Set Design by Charlie Corcoran; Pictured: Members of the cast, crew, and creative team of Lady G, with Irish Rep administrative staff.
Lady G plays in the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre February 12 – March 22, 2020.
Photos from the Member Holiday Open House
In December, we invited our members to celebrate the season with us at a Holiday Open House. Enjoy a few of James Higgins’ photos from the event below.
Save the Date for our 2020 Gala
Save the Date: Monday, June 8, 2020
Join us for a one-night-only event featuring special guest performers from both Broadway and past Irish Rep productions, accompanied by a full orchestra.
Our 2020 Gala will celebrate the company’s 31st season and honor our friend Loretta Brennan Glucksman. Glucksman will receive Irish Repertory Theatre’s Visionary Leadership Award in recognition of her philanthropic support of Irish communities and her tireless work in promoting Irish culture and heritage in the US and around the world.
Performance-Only tickets will become available in March 2020.
For information on tickets and premium packages, please check our website. Further event details and performer information will be announced as the event approaches.
Upcoming Member Events
A perk of Irish Rep memberships: Invitations to special events! Mark your calendars for the upcoming Patron Nights:
*Patron nights are available to members starting at the Associate level. Call 212.255.0270 to upgrade your membership. Already eligible? You can now log into your account and purchase online! If you have any questions about purchasing tickets online, you can find the instructions here .
Presidential Award Photo from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland.
Member Holiday Open House photos by James Higgins.