QUIETLY, Joe Dowling, 59E59 and More Slated for Origin's 1st Irish Fest
A number of prominent theatre companies and artists from Ireland are taking part in this year's 9th annual Origin's 1st Irish Festival taking place from September 6 to October 3.
Among the highlights: The American premiere of Owen McCafferty's "Quietly," which the Irish Repertory Theatre has brought to New York to inaugurate its newly refurbished theater on West 22nd Street, runs through September 11.
Produced in association with The Public Theater, the Abbey Theatre's acclaimed production of "Quietly" -- about violence and redemption during The Troubles which roiled Northern Ireland until 1998 -- is directed by Jimmy Fay, the artistic director of The Lyric Theatre in Belfast.
Legendary director Joe Dowling, who stepped down as artistic director of The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis (which he led for 20 years) after the 2014/15 season, will be a special guest director at the Irish Rep in a Festival play to be announced.
The Irish Arts Center ushers in Sonya Kelly's new play, "How to Keep An Alien," produced by Dublin's famously adventurous Rough Magic Theatre. Winner of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Best Production Award in 2014, "How to Keep an Alien" toured extensively in the British Isles in 2015, and was part of the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This North American premiere runs from September 15 to October 1. Kelly made a sensation at the 2013 Origin's 1st Irish Festival with her "I Can See Clearly Now (The Wheelchair on my Face)," a NY Times Critics' Pick.
59E59 Theaters, which regularly presents some of Ireland's most distinguished new work for the Festival every September, will present Eoghan Quinn's comedy "Bears in Space," a critically acclaimed production by Collapsing Horse which played in London and in last year's Edinburgh Festival. (Sept 6 to Oct 2.) Also the NY and Toronto-based Birdland Theatre brings Conor McPherson's thriller "The Birds" to 59E59 for its New York premiere. (Sept 9 to Oct 2.)
Origin's Next Generation Series, a development series in which a number of hand-picked plays are seen for the first time in small workshop productions, will feature new plays by Derek Murphy, and by newcomer Thomas Burns Scully, the winner of last year's Origin's WB Yeats Emerging Playwright Competition, which is co-sponsored by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
The 2016 Festival will host a special one-night presentation, directed Ben Barnes, of "WexFour," an evening of four short plays by the celebrated Wexford playwrights John Banville, Eoin Colfer, Billy Roche and Colm Toibin. Commissioned to commemorate the 40th anniversary (in 2014) of the Wexford Arts Centre, the plays have never been seen on these shores. The four playwrights will be present for the evening, on Wednesday September 28 at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts Bruno Walter Auditorium.
The world's only festival devoted exclusively to producing the plays of contemporary Irish playwrights from around the world, Origin's 1st Irish runs from September 6 to October 3 at venues across the city. The productions are a mix of shows from Ireland and Northern Ireland, and of homegrown productions from New York-based companies. Approximately 10 of these are mainstage shows seen in jury-voted competition. The Festival also produces readings, parties, and concerts.
For festival details, visit www.1stirish.org. For more information on Origin Theatre, go to www.origintheatre.org.