How It’s New York: The show appears as part of the Lincoln Center Festival, for just the one week.
How It’s Irish: The play is by Sean O’Casey, one of Ireland’s most celebrated playwrights. It’s a production of Galway’s Druid Theatre Company, led by Garry Hynes.
Seán O’Casey’s 1928 play about World War I before and after, The Silver Tassie, is not nearly so well known here asJuno and the Paycock or The Plough and the Stars. But this production shows that it should be. It’s a powerful anti-war play that also has music, heart, love and laughs– and anti-war plays are sadly relevant as Hell. Directed by Garry Hynes, with her Druid Theatre Company (she’s Artistic Director and Co-Founder), the production is vivid, touching, unforgettable– and also brings out the vaudeville training O’Casey’s actors would have had, as well as the Expressionism that O’Casey employs.
I caught the show during the Ulster Bank Theatre Festival in Dublin in October, and was completely floored. I am eager to see it again, and will hopefully have Hynes, the first female theatre director to win the Tony (for Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh in 1998), on the podcast as well.
I know there is a lot going on this week, but don’t miss this one. It begins its run today, July 24, and has just eight performances, closing July 31.
Frank McGuinness famously called this play “the cruelest play in all Irish literature.” And after it opened in Ireland (in 1935; it had been rejected by Yeats for the Abbey earlier and premiered in London), O’Casey left Ireland, never to return. The play touched the audience, but it was controversial, too.- see this article in The Irish Times for more on that (connected with the Druid production).
Below is the review I did of the production, from my round-up of the Theatre Festival for Irish Examiner. Note how I wrote THIS BELONGS ON BROADWAY, AND I HOPE IT GETS HERE!
The show appears as part of Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s year-long season of Irish arts in America in 2011
The show runs Sun. – Sat., 8, matiness Sat. 30th and Sun. 31st at 2 pm, at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 899 Tenth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets, NYC. Get tickets here, or 212-721-6500