The Irish Heritage Theatre Presents The Women of Ireland: Short Irish Classics
The Irish Heritage Theatre announces its Spring 2018 production of The Women of Ireland: Short Irish Classics. After the highly successful and critically acclaimed production of By the Bog of Cats (The Irish Heritage Theatre's first Barrymore Recommended Production) and an incredible 2016-2017 season featuring Molly Sweeney (several critics' awards including Best Actor (Female) Phindie Critics' Awards and D.C. Metro's Best Ensemble) and Making History, they turn to their next production dedicated to iconic and contemporary Irish women. This production features several short plays, all directed by women, featuring fierce female characters. The following are offered: Riders to the Sea, John Millington Synge's masterpiece, the haunting Cathleen Ni Houlihan by William Butler Yeats and the great Lady Gregory and contemporary shorts by female playwrights from Fishamble's Tiny Plays for Ireland.
The Irish Heritage Theatre is Philadelphia's only professional company dedicated to preserving and acquainting new audiences with the poetry and power of classical and contemporary Irish and Irish American theatre. They will also return to Plays and Players Theatre, who is also co-producing the show.
The season begins with the heartbreaking tragedy of Riders to the Sea by John Millington Synge (directed by Tori Mittelman), in which matriarch Maurya has lost her husband and most of her sons to the unrelenting sea and now fears the worst for her other two sons. Her daughters struggle with how they will share the truth with Maurya without destroying what is left of this strong, powerful woman.
In Cathleen Ni Houlihan by Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats (directed by Marcia Ferguson), a mysterious old woman visits the Gillane family and it is soon clear that she is the much abused Mother Ireland calling for the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for Irish independence.
Finally, there are four contemporary shorts by female playwrights from Fishamble's Tiny Plays for Ireland: Poster Boy by Antonia Hart, Commiserations by Niamh Creely, Hearts by Lucy Montague-Moffat, and Isolation by Joan Ryan (all directed by Tina Brock). All of these plays explore women's lives in modern Irish society in ways that are simultaneously smart, funny and insightful.
Before the #meetoo movement grew into what it is today, IHT decided to dedicate its 2017-2018 season to women. The artistic director, Peggy Mecham, and Board President and associate producer Kirsten Quinn saw the need to focus on the amazing female characters in Irish theatre. Now, more than ever, women are taking a stand and sharing their stories. These Irish tales are just a few of the rich and poetic examinations of what it means to be an Irish woman.
This is the first time that this company will be using multiple directors for multiple plays. This is a big risk for a small company, but the Irish Heritage Theatre is now known for taking risks. Tori Mittleman will direct Riders to the Sea, Tina Brock will take the helm for rarely produced Tiny Plays for Ireland, and Marcia Ferguson will lead the charge for Cathleen Ni Houlihan. The plays feature several returning favorites and mainstays of the Irish Heritage Theatre including Jackie Cohen, John Cannon, Mary Pat Walsh, Barbaraluz Orlanda, and Carlos Forbes. There will also be new-comers Katie Stahl, Brian McManus, John O'Donnell, and Connie Martinez rounding out the cast.
The show will run April 5-21st at Plays and Players Theatre (Upstairs). Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm. Tickets are $25 for general admission; $20 for seniors; and $15 for students, theatre industry members, and groups of ten or more. For production information and to purchase tickets go to: www.irishheritagetheatre.org.