Wife to James Whelan - Off-Broadway
Set in a small town in the middle of Ireland, WIFE TO JAMES WHELAN tells the story of a conflict between ambition and happiness.
James is determined to make his mark. Nan thinks he should be content with what he has. When James takes a prized job in Dublin, he leaves Nan behind. “I’ll come back to Kilbeggan to do something,” he vows. James asks Nan to wait for him, but she makes no promises.
We next see James seven years later, sole proprietor of a new enterprise in Kilbeggan, the “Silver Wings” Bus Service and “all the girls are going at him full tilt.” Three women might be ‘Wife to James Whelan’: Nan, his true love, Kate, his true friend, and Nora, who appeals to his ambition—but can anyone or anything bring him happiness?
Beginning on a lazy day in May, the play bursts out with unexpected power and passion. “A play of tragic proportion”, declared the Irish Times, comparing James to King Lear, “a tormented figure, passionate yet ambitious, kindly yet prone to blinding anger.”
Mint Theater(New York, NY)
311 West 43rd Street
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by Ben Peltz - August 31, 2010
Though Teresa Deevy was arguably the world's most famous female playwright in 1942, the year she completed her class-conscious romance Wife To James Whelan, the new management of Dublin's Abbey Theatre, which had already produced six of her plays, turned it down. The once-prolific career of the dramatist whose love for theatre began after being diagnosed at age 20 as incurably deaf due to Meniere's disease, skidded to a halt, making her name, at least on this shore, all but forgotten now.