Irish Rep Announces Full Cast For THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS

Irish Rep Announces Full Cast For THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS

Irish Repertory Theatre announced today special events and programming for the month of March as part of the The Sean O'Casey Season, a comprehensive retrospective of the work of renowned Irish playwright Sean O'Casey, celebrating 30 years of Irish Repertory Theatre. Irish Rep also announced today full casting for The Plough and the Stars, part of The O'Casey Cycle, which features O'Casey's three most renowned works, The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, and The Plough and the Stars, presented in repertory as part of The Sean O'Casey Season. Directed by Charlotte Moore (On A Clear Day You Can See Forever), The Plough and the Stars begins previews April 20, 2019 with opening night set for April 30, 2019.

Completing the cast of The Plough and the Stars will be Clare O'Malley (The Dead, 1904) as Nora Clitheroe and Adam Petherbridge (Three Small Irish Masterpieces) as Jack Clitheroe. They join the previously announced Úna Clancy as Mrs. Gogan, Terry Donnelly as Woman from Rathmines, Rory Duffy as Ensemble, Meg Hennessy as Mollser, John Keating as Capt. Brennan, Robert Langdon Lloyd as Peter Flynn, Ed Malone as Lieut. Langon, Michael Mellamphy as Fluther Good, Tony Award winner Maryann Plunkett as Bessie Burgess, James Russell as The Young Covey, Harry Smith as Bartender/Sgt. Tinley, and Sarah Street as Rosie Redmond.

Pretty young newlywed Nora Clitheroe is the talk of her tenement as she tirelessly works to lift her family out of their impoverished circumstances. She tries to keep her husband Jack from the revolutionary fervor sweeping through Dublin. But Jack becomes a Commandant in the Irish Citizen Army, and when the Easter Rising of 1916 begins, he leaves a pregnant Nora to help lead the fight. The disparate, quarrelsome tenement residents are forced to shelter together as urban warfare makes their home nearly as treacherous as the streets. Passions and ideals rise and converge, but in the end, loss and devastation triumph over the promise of a new Ireland.

Performance Schedule:

April 20 - May 10: Tuesday: 7pm, Wednesday: 3pm & 8pm, Thursday: 7pm, Friday: 8pm, Saturday: 3pm & 8pm.

Additional Performances: Sunday May 5 at 3pm; Wednesday May 15 at 3pm; Friday May 17 at 8pm; Wednesday May 22 at 8pm

March's events for The O'Casey Season will include screenings of Young Cassidy starring Rod Taylor and the 1937 film version of The Plough and the Stars starring Barbara Stanwyck; and five free readings of O'Casey's rarely-staged works (Red Roses for Me, Oak Leaves and Lavender; Cock-a Doodle-Dandy; Three One Acts Part 1: Bedtime Stories, The End of the Beginning, A Pound on Demand; Three One Acts Part II: Behind the Green Curtains, Figuro in the Night, The Moon Shines on Kylenamoe). Additionally, The Sean O'Casey Exhibition, which celebrates the work and life of Sean O'Casey, will continue at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts through March 23, 2019.

MARCH FILM SCREENINGS:

Young Cassidy (1965)

Directed by John Ford and Jack Cardiff

Starring Rod Taylor, Julie Christie, and Maggie Smith

The W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre

Thursday March 14 at 7pm & Friday March 15 at 8pm

Inspired by Sean O'Casey's autobiography of his early life in Dublin, this film follows Johnny Cassidy (Rod Taylor) as he grows up and begins to identify as a socialist in Dublin in 1911, a time period that would come to define the themes of his work. He gets swept into the nationalist cause, joins the labor movement and goes on strike, and starts a relationship with a prostitute named Daisy Battles (Julie Christie). When Cassidy meets bookshop assistant Nora (Maggie Smith), she helps him find his path in the theater as a playwright.

The Plough and the Stars (1937)

Directed by John Ford

Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Barry Fitzgerald, and members of the original Abbey Theatre cast of The Plough and the Stars

The W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre

Thursday March 28 at 7pm & Friday March 29 at 8pm

Pretty young newlywed Nora Clitheroe is the talk of her tenement as she tirelessly works to lift her family out of their impoverished circumstances. She tries to keep her husband Jack from the revolutionary fervor sweeping through Dublin. But Jack becomes a Commandant in the Irish Citizen Army, and when the Easter Rising of 1916 begins, he leaves a pregnant Nora to help lead the fight. The disparate, quarrelsome tenement residents are forced to shelter together as urban warfare makes their home nearly as treacherous as the streets. Passions and ideals rise and converge, but in the end, loss and devastation triumph over the promise of a new Ireland.

Just ten years after The Abbey Theatre's premiere of The Plough and the Stars incited riots in Dublin, renowned Hollywood director John Ford adapted the play for a much-anticipated film. He planned to cast it with the actors from the original stage production, but his studio (RKO) insisted that he hire known American actors for the leads. He was ultimately able to hire five actors from the original production including Barry Fitzgerald, who would go on to have a long career in film. During editing, O'Casey's political opinions caused problems once again as RKO objected to the overt politics in the film and interjected, reshooting several scenes against Ford's wishes with another director.

MARCH Sean O'Casey READINGS:


As part of The Sean O'Casey Season, Irish Rep is delighted to present free readings of all of Sean O'Casey's plays written from 1928 through his death in 1964 in the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre. With the O'Casey Cycle, this series represents a full retrospective on the work of Sean O'Casey. A selection of readings will be presented each month of the O'Casey Season. For the month of March, the readings are:

Red Roses for Me

Saturday March 2 at 8pm & Sunday March 3 at 3pm

It's the Dublin Lockout of 1913*, and Ayamonn Breydon, a Protestant laborer and strike leader with poetic aspirations, fights alongside his fellow workers while struggling with his own personal and religious conflicts. The lockout and family expectations threaten his romance with the Catholic Sheila. Inundated with contradicting opinions from the people in his life, Ayamonn strives to be true to his own identity and beliefs.

After a few less popular experimental works, O'Casey found critical and commercial success again with Red Roses for Me. Protagonist Ayamonn Breydon is often considered to be a loosely-drawn self-portrait, and the character addresses a number of personal dilemmas in addition to political storylines. Critics praise this work for its lyrical language and use of symbolism. Red Roses for Me premiered in Dublin in 1943 during a period of labor disputes that made the play's focus on the events of 1913 particularly timely.

*The Dublin Lockout of 1913 was one of the largest industrial protests in Irish History, with 20,000 workers striking against 300 employers. Sean O'Casey was an active participant in the labor movement, and he served as Secretary of the Irish Citizen Army, a paramilitary organization that defended striking workers against the police. Before the strike, Dublin's unskilled worker population was plagued with poverty and suffered horrible working conditions. When workers tried to unionize, employers retaliated by locking them out. The Lockout lasted for seven months before starving workers returned to work, signing pledges not to join the union. Although the 1913 strike was temporarily unsuccessful, it set a precedent for worker solidarity in Ireland that increased bargaining power and union strength over time.

Oak Leaves and Lavender

Saturday March 9 at 8pm & Sunday March 10 at 3pm

For Oak Leaves and Lavender, O'Casey turned to England during World War II to pay homage to the Battle of Britain and England's ancient traditions. The entire play is set in a Cornish Manorial House that is serving as a headquarters for the Home Guard during World War II while being haunted by the ghosts of England's past glories. While the ghostly story infuses this work with fantastical elements, a realistic plot grounds the work as O'Casey once again introduces a wide range of characters - from air-raid wardens and Land Army girls to members of the community. This unique play combines a sparse, realistic plot and O'Casey's signature comedic dialogue with the anti-Fascist rhetoric that O'Casey has begun to infuse in his plays during that period.

Written in 1946, Oak Leaves and Lavender premiered on May 13, 1947 at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in London.

Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy

Saturday March 16 at 8pm & Sunday March 17 at 3pm

Regarded by O'Casey as his best play, Cock-a-Doodle-Dandy is a darkly comic fantasy in which an enchanted cockerel appears in the Irish village of Nyadnanave (Gaelic for "Nest of Saints"). The Cock is a Dionysian figure who entrances villagers with joy and merriment, and he quickly gains a following of young townspeople, particularly beautiful young women. Scandalized, the town's upper-class men and religious leaders declare the Cock an incarnation of the devil. Hostility from the town's religious leaders rises and turns violent until finally, the Cock and his followers are banished - off to spread love, joy, and freedom to other lands while the oppressive Father Domineer continues to reign over Nyadnanave.

Written in 1949 when Sean O'Casey was 70 years old, this parable of mid-century Irish rural life symbolizes the struggle between repression and liberty, and it embodies O'Casey's criticism of mid-century Ireland as a Catholic theocracy. After its world premiere at the People's Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, it was banned in the UK and suppressed in Ireland and the USA for its anti-Catholic themes. Now, in addition to being O'Casey's favorite of his own plays, it is well-renowned among critics, though it is rarely staged today.

Three One Acts Part I: Bedtime Story, The End of the Beginning, A Pound on Demand

Saturday March 23 at 8pm & Sunday March 24 at 3pm

Bedtime Story (1951)

In a Dublin bachelor flat, John Jo has spent the night with seductive Angela. Wracked with religious guilt and fear of social repercussions, he tries to hurry Angela away before they attract the attention of the other residents and landlady of his boarding house.

Written in 1951 as part of three one-act farces, including The Hall of Healing and Time to Go, this stand-out short play premiered in May of 1952 at the Yugoslav-American Hall in New York City. It received its Irish premiere at The Abbey Theatre in May of 1972.

The End of the Beginning (1937)

On a farm in rural Ireland, Darry Berrill bets his wife Lizzie that he can do her household and farmyard chores better and faster than she can do his work in the fields. As Lizzie gets to work, their neighbor Barry stops by the house, and the two men dance and waste time until Darry realizes he needs to get to work. Rushing through his chores, Darry botches every task before him until Lizzie comes home to discover their home in disarray.

One of two plays printed at the end of Windfalls, a book of poems and short stories published in 1934, The End of the Beginning was first performed at The Abbey Theatre in February of 1937. It revisits O'Casey's interest in gender biasness and society's underestimation of the strength of women. Its humor and accessibility make it popular through today.

A Pound on Demand (1939)

Desperate for one more pound to spend at the pub, an inebriated man and his drunken companion hilariously attempt to withdraw money from the local post office.

A Pound on Demand was the second play printed at the end of Windfalls, a book of poems and short stories published in 1934; it was first produced in October 1939 at the Q Theatre in London.

Three One Acts Part II: Behind the Green Curtains, Figuro in the Night, The Moon Shines on Kylenamoe

Saturday March 30 at 8pm & Sunday March 31 at 3pm

O'Casey's final published theatrical work was a collection of three plays: Behind the Green Curtains, which included Behind the Green Curtains, Figuro in the Night and The Moon Shines on Kylenamoe. These playful works showcase O'Casey's skills as a comic playwright.

Behind the Green Curtains (1961)

Set in the fictional Irish village of Ballybequiet, factory foreman Beoman and church strong man Kornavaun fight for the loyalty and allegiance of the townspeople in this parody that skewers O'Casey's favorite targets: religious and nationalist zealotry and capitalism.

Figuro in the Night (1961)

Set in Dublin, the appearance of a mysterious statue leads to a generational shift in this mythic story in which the freedom of youth clashes with a repressed older generation.

The Moon Shines on Kylenamoe (1961)

This farce depicts the antics of the townspeople in a small Irish village as they come up against an aloof wealthy Englishman.

Due to O'Casey's ongoing criticism of the Catholic Church and Irish politics, these three plays premiered in small productions by student groups in Rochester and New York City in 1962. In 1975, more than ten years after O'Casey's death, Figuro in the Night and The Moon Shines on Kylanamoe were produced together in a double billing at The Abbey Theatre.

All readings are free to attend and will take place on Irish Rep's W. Scott McLucas Studio Stage. To request an invitation, call the Irish Rep box office at 212-727-2737.

Currently in performances at Irish Repertory Theatre is The Shadow of a Gunman, directed by Ciarán O'Reilly. Part of The O'Casey Cycle, The Shadow of a Gunman will run through March 3, with additional performances March 29 - April 2, Wednesday, April 3 at 3pm; Thursday, April 11 at 7pm; Saturday, April 13 at 3pm; Saturday, May 11 & Saturday, May 25 at 3:30pm; Tuesday, May 14 & Tuesday, May 21 at 7pm; Thursday, May 16 at 7pm; Saturday, May 18 at 3:30pm; Friday, May 24 at 8pm.

O'Casey Cycle Performance Schedule: Tuesday: 7pm, Wednesday: 3pm & 8pm, Thursday: 7pm, Friday: 8pm, Saturday: 3pm & 8pm, Sunday: 3pm.

Exceptions: On Saturdays May 11, 18, and 25 (Dublin Saturdays), performance times will be 11am, 3:30pm, and 8pm. There will be no performances on Sunday May 12 or Sunday May 19.

DUBLIN SATURDAYS: On Saturday May 11, Saturday May 18, and Saturday May 25, all three plays will be performed in one day and will be presented in order of their historical settings. Dublin Saturdays will begin with The Plough and the Stars (1916-The Easter Rising) at 11am, followed by The Shadow of a Gunman (1921-The Irish War of Independence) at 3:30pm, and will conclude with Juno and the Paycock (1922-the Irish Civil War) at 8pm.

Tickets to The O'Casey Cycle start at $45 and are available through Irish Rep's box office at 212-727-2737 or online at www.irishrep.org.

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