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THE SMUGGLER Opens Next Month At Boston Playwrights' Theatre

Boston Playwrights' Theatre (BPT) continues its 2019-20 season with the smuggler by Ronán Noone. Running from November 7-24, this darkly-comic drama is directed by Judy Braha.

"From his Irish trilogy to Little Black Dress and The Atheist, Ronán continues to astound and provoke with his singular way of looking not only at his homeland of Ireland, but at our American culture. He never hesitates to point out our complexities," BPT Artistic Director Kate Snodgrass says. "And the smuggler is no different. It's an honor to produce it!"

The solo piece centers on Irish immigrant Tim Finnegan, a bartender on the fictional New England island of Amity, who has ambitions to be a writer but finds a darker side of the American dream instead. Playwright Noone received the Best Playwright Award for the play, which is written in rhyme, at Origin Theatre's 1st Irish Festival last spring.

Noone, originally from Connemara, Ireland, called on his own experiences as an immigrant to craft the play.

"When I lived on Martha's Vineyard I worked with a lot of people who were documented and undocumented. . . I was told about the commercial underbelly system that existed among the undocumented," Noone says. "Loans were extended from those working here and sent home so other people could to move to America. These loans had an ongoing interest rate attached. There was a kitchen in someone's house that served familiar cuisine that you didn't find in any restaurants. As an immigrant I understood the importance and comfort received from eating food from my place of origin. You could buy a car license. You could cash your check with someone who had a bank account and be charged 10 percent for using this service. This was a strong black market, if you will. People were smuggled in. It was a profitable business. It exploited the workers, and jobs were done that others people wouldn't do. Many people, both undocumented and citizen, would say it suited everybody's needs perfectly."

The role of Tim Finnegan is played by award-winning actor Billy Meleady.

"I haven't worked with Billy since 2006 and it is a pleasure to have him on board," says Noone. "He has an intense style and gives this character a flash of lightening that makes the play very dynamic."

A post-show conversation with members of the smuggler's creative team will follow the Nov. 9 performance.

Noone's The Lepers of Baile Baiste, The Blowin of Baile Gall and Little Black Dress all had their first productions at Boston Playwrights' Theatre. His play The Second Girl had its world premiere at Huntington Theatre Company in 2015, and has gone on to productions across the country. He is an adjunct assistant professor in Boston University's M.F.A. in Playwriting Program. Director Braha is head of the M.F.A. Directing Program at Boston University's School of Theatre and has been a director, actor, teacher and arts advocate in New England for more than three decades. Braha's recent directing credits include New Repertory Theatre's production of Golda's Balcony, Gloucester Stage Company's To Kill A Mockingbird and most recently The Exonerated at Boston University.

The plays in BPT's 2019-20 season were written by alumni of Boston University's Playwriting Program; the season concludes with MJ Halberstadt's Deal Me Out in February.

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