Veteran Stage Actor Makes Writing/Directing Debut With RORY AND THE DEVIL At Hollywood Fringe
Though there is some debate as to when "The Troubles" actually began, its blood-soaked legacy is one that has been ever-present in popular culture for over fifty-years. In truth, it's only been just over twenty-years since the conflict abated with the Good Friday Agreement. "Rory and the Devil" takes the audience back to the early days of the ordeal, using a small, rural pub as the backdrop for a powerful piece of theatrical reckoning.
"I was inspired to tell this story by the engaging, yet often outlandish, stories told by my Irish American family," says writer/director David McElwee. McElwee, a successful New York stage actor, decided Hollywood Fringe Festival was the perfect venue for his writing and directing debut: "I have come to the conclusion that not much is needed to tell a great story: a dirty pint glass can become a chalice; a wet umbrella can become an antique rifle...these are principles of doing a show at Hollywood Fringe."
Taking place over the course of one night at the aforementioned pub, the piece revolves around Mary Friel, a barmaid striving to maintain harmony amongst the men in her life. Ancestral legends and secrets are revisited and a cycle of violence is revealed. It's a talented cast of characters inhabited by a diverse group of local actors: Jennifer Lane Oakley as "Mary"; John Apicella as "Neil"; Glenn Stanton as "Rua"; John Harnagel as "Hugh"; Tyee Tilghman as "Robert"; and Brennan Murray as ""Collin".
The crew consists of Marissa Rivera assistant directing and Fringe veteran, Billy Ray Brewton (writer/director of 2018's award-winning A Beast/A Burden), producing. "I read the script and I was blown away," says Brewton. "It's such a powerful and intimate story about a conflict most people only relate to in very broad terms. There was no doubt I had to be involved in some capacity for one reason and one reason only: I'd have been stupid to not."
For his first Hollywood Fringe Festival, McElwee will also be stepping into a role in Brewton's 2019 directing effort, "Son of a Bitch", written by Lucy Gillespie and running at The Broadwater Black Box. But that workload certainly hasn't diminished the excitement of bringing a world premiere to Hollywood's theatre row. Says McElwee: "Enjoy a pint and a whisky as a group of actors take you to Neil Friel's pub - a safe place for a good story - until it isn't. Come enjoy the best of what Irish storytelling has to offer!"
Performing at Thymele Arts (5481 Santa Monica Blvd.), "Rory and the Devil" runs 6/8 at 4:15pm (preview performance); 6/13 at 9:15pm; 6/16 at 3:45pm; 6/22 at 4:15pm; 6/23 at 8:15pm; 6/25 at 7:15pm; and 6/30 at 3:45pm. Tickets are $15 and available at www.roryandthedevil.com.