Irish Rep To Present McGuiness's 'Master Builder'

The Irish Repertory Theatre will open its 2008-2009 season with the world premiere of Tony Award winning playwright Frank McGuinness's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's THE MASTER BUILDER. McGuinness' adaptation was commissioned by the Irish Rep and will be directed by Ciaran O'Reilly. Performances begin Friday, October 10, 2008.  The production will have its official opening on Sunday, October 19, 2008 and run through November 30, 2008.

Past adaptations of Ibsen's work by Mr. McGuinness have received world renowned acclaim including a Tony Award for best revival in 1997 for A Doll's House.

THE MASTER BUILDER (1892): Halvard Solness, a successful architect and builder in a small Norwegian town has mercilessly dominated his employees and his wife, Aline. Hilde Wangel, a vivacious young woman arrives unannounced.  Hilde has idolized Solness for ten years, since in the early stages of his career, he built a large church in her hometown and heroically climbed to the top of the tower to celebrate its dedication.   The architect's presence had a profound effect on the young girl of twelve when he promised to return and, "build her a kingdom." Today, the ten years are up and Hilde has come to reap what he has sown.

Frank McGuinness was born in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, and now lives in Dublin and lectures in English at University College, Dublin. His plays include: The Factory Girls (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1982 and Arcola Theatre, London, January 2006), Baglady (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1985), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1985; Hampstead Theatre, London, 1986), Innocence (Gate Theatre, Dublin, 1986), Carthaginians (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1988; Hampstead Theatre, London, 1989), Mary and Lizzie (RSC, 1989), The Bread Man (Gate Theatre, Dublin, 1991), Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Hampstead, West End and Broadway, 1992, West End 2005), The Bird Sanctuary (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1992), Mutabilitie (RNT, 1997), Dolly West's Kitchen (Abbey, 1999; Old Vic, 2000) and  Gates of Gold (The Gate Theatre, Dublin, 2002, Finborough Theatre, London, 2004). His translations include Ibsen's Rosmersholm (RNT, 1987), Lorca's Yerma (Abbey, 1987), Peer Gynt (Gate, 1988; RSC and international tour, 1994; RNT, 2000), Chekhov's Three Sisters (Gate and Royal Court, 1990), Brecht's The Threepenny Opera (Gate, 1991), Hedda Gabler (Roundabout Theatre, Broadway, 1994), Uncle Vanya (Field Day Production, 1995), A Doll's House (Playhouse Theatre, Broadway, 1997), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (RNT, 1997), Sophocles' Electra (Chichester, Donmar Warehouse, Broadway, 1998), Ovstrovsky's The Storm (Almeida Theatre, London, 1998), Miss Julie (West End, 2000), Euripides' Hecuba (Donmar Warehouse, 2004), his adaptation of Du Maurier's Rebecca (David Pugh Productions, national tour, 2005) and his version of Phaedra (Donmar Warehouse, 2006). Frank's latest play There Came a Gypsy Riding was produced by the Almeida Theatre in 2007.

Henrik Ibsen was born in Skien, Norway, to wealthy parents, who lost their money while he was a young boy. His early experiences with small-town life and genteel poverty sensitized him to the problems that he subsequently dramatized in a number of his plays. At age sixteen he was apprenticed to a druggist; he later thought about studying medicine, but by his early twenties he was earning a living writing and directing plays in various Norwegian cities. By the time of his death he enjoyed an international reputation for his treatment of social issues related to middle-class life. Ibsen's earliest dramatic works were historical and romantic plays, some in verse. His first truly realistic work was The Pillars of Society (1877), whose title ironically hints at the corruption and hypocrisy exposed in it. The realistic social-problem plays for which he is best known followed. These dramas at once fascinated and shocked international audiences. Among his most produced and admired works are A Doll House (1879), Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild Duck (1884), Hedda Gabler (1890), and The Master Builder (1892).

Ciarán O'Reilly (Producing Director) most recently directed Prisoner of the Crown, Sive, Defender of the Faith, The Hairy Ape (Drama Desk Nom.), The Field, Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Drama Desk Nom.), and The Irish Rep original, The Bells of Christmas.  He also directed The Nightingale and Not The Lark and The Invisible Man by Jennifer Johnston. He was recently seen in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Touch of A Poet with Gabriel Byrne.  Previous to that, he appeared at The Westport Country Playhouse in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuiness.  He has appeared at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and made his Broadway debut in The Corn is Green.  His many Off-Broadway roles include: two productions of The Shadow of a Gunman; Brendan Behan's The Hostage; Hugh Leonard's Da, Summer and The Au Pair Man; Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come!; J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World; Harold Prince's Grandchild of Kings; Geraldine Aron's Same Old Moon; Tom Murphy's A Whistle in the Dark; Dion Boucicault's The Shaughraun; John Murphy's The Country Boy; and Frank McCourt's The Irish...and How They Got That Way.  He appeared in The Devil's Own (starring Harrison Ford), "Law & Order" (NBC), "The Irish...and How They Got That Way" (public television), and "Third Watch" (NBC).  He founded The Irish Repertory Theatre with Charlotte Moore, has appeared in many of their productions, and has produced all of them.  He has been honored by Irish America Magazine with the Irish America Top 100 Irish Award.

Performance schedule, cast, and additional information/credits will follow in the coming weeks.

ABOUT THE IRISH REPERTORY THEATRE Founded by Ciarán O'Reilly and Charlotte Moore, The Irish Repertory Theatre opened its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. The Irish Repertory Theatre is currently the only year-round theatre
company in New York City devoted to bringing Irish and Irish American works to the stage. Recognized with the 2007 Jujamcyn Theatres Award, a special Drama Desk Award for "Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish drama," and the Lucille Lortel Award for "Outstanding Body of Work," the Irish Repertory Theatre has celebrated the very best in Irish theatre for twenty one years, from the masters to the new generation of Irish and Irish American writers who are transforming the stage. More than 35,000 audience members on average annually attend
productions at our theatre in the heart of New York's Off Broadway community. Once here, they witness The Irish Repertory Theatre's engaging perspective on the Irish and their unique contributions to the world of drama.

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