James X, Directed by Gabriel Byrne Begins Performances Tonight
Gerard Mannix Flynn's James X is a searing indictment of neglect; both of the individual and of the institutions whose responsibility is to protect and inspire its citizens. Directed by Gabriel Byrne, James X begins performances tonight, Tuesday December 6 at 7:30pm and opens on Friday, December 9th at 45 Bleecker Street. Produced by Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson and Culture Project, James X, a Farcry Production, features Gerard Mannix Flynn, who also starred in the production when it premiered in Dublin.
Accompanying the performance on display in the theatre's lobby is IMPACT, an exhibition of Gerard Mannix Flynn's work related to child abuse in Ireland's institutions. Flynn's moving exhibit takes viewers through James X's journey starting from age 6 to present day. James X and this exhibit are each a part of Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland's year long initiative of Irish art in the United States.
"I cannot recount a time when a critic decided that seeing a play was 'a necessity of life'" said Culture Project's Allan Buchman, but that is exactly what Finton O'Toole suggested in the Irish Times regarding James X. An Irish government tribunal of inquiry into the institutions responsible for the cruel and inhumane treatment of children is in session. In the foyer, James X, one of those children, now a man, anxiously prepares to offer the testimony which he hopes will unshackle him from the past. As he waits, James is confronted with the fact that the tribunal he is about to go before is part of the very same system what made prisoners of children like him. Sighting this truth prompts him to tell the story which will really, finally, set him free.
In the last decade, the Catholic Church and State institutions in Ireland and throughout the world have been in the center of an emerging secret history. This history involves the sexual abuse and torment of tens of thousands of vulnerable children. This is the human story of one of those children who is trying to emerge from a place of darkness into the light.
Gerard Mannix Flynn, born in Dublin in 1957, has carved out a multi-faceted artistic career as a writer, actor, playwright, politician, political activist, and visual artist and in 2009 he was elected an independent councilor for the South East Inner City area in Dublin. His experience in Irish institutions, including an 18 month stint in St Joseph's Industrial School, where he was sent at age 11, has informed much of his work, including the autobiographical novel, Nothing to Say, in 1983 and James X. He is currently elected as the New Independent Dublin City Councillor. He has written extensively for various newspapers, magazines and periodicals and is a well-known contemporary commentator and artist.
Gabriel Byrne is best known as an actor, having starred in over 35 feature films including The Usual Suspects. His producing credits include the Academy Award nominated In The Name of the Father. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of James Tyrone in A Moon for the Misbegotten and he appeared with the Culture Project in The Exonerated. More recently he was heralded for his performance as Dr. Paul Weston in the HBO drama, "In Treatment."
Culture Project is dedicated to addressing critical human rights issues by creating and supporting artistic work that amplifies marginalized voices. Founded by Allan Buchman in 1996, Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright's My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer's Betrayed and Temple University's acclaimed production of In Conflict. Culture Project also produced Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum, a groundbreaking concert at the United Nations to commemorate the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Most recently, Culture Project presented its month-long Women Center Stage Festival at The Living Theatre and MoLoRa at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. For further information, please visit CultureProject.org.
Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland's year of Irish arts in America, will see over 1,200 artists present more than 500 events across 45 states, during 2011. The program is a celebration of the Irish imagination, presenting renowned artists and ensembles alongside some of our most exciting emerging voices. Irish and American artists share a strong cultural connection, going back many centuries. The Fall/Winter program of Imagine Ireland is full of highlights and special events, across theatre, visual arts, music, film, literature and dance. Full details are available at www. imagineireland.ie
James X plays Monday through Saturday at 7:30pm, with matinees on Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 2pm at 45 Bleecker Street. General admission tickets are $40. a limited number of student rush tickets will be available for $15 with valid student ID. For tickets and information, visit cultureproject.org or phone 866-811-4111. Running time is approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Photo Credit: BWW-Staff