Reading Series 2010-2011

Friday, May 6, 2011
3:00 pm

A Solo for Two Voices
by Thomas Delaney

directed by Ciaran O'Reilly

A Solo For Two Voices is a play loosely based on the life and writings of Christy Brown, the Irish writer, poet and painter. Despite having cerebral palsy, Christy wrote an autobiography, four novels, three books of poems and executed quite a number of paintings, all of them accomplished by the one part of his body not affected by his disorder; namely, his left foot.

A Solo For Two Voices will be read by  Aoife Burke (“On Raftery's Hill”)*, Kevin Collins* (The Yeats Project), Terry Donnelly* (The Shaughran), Bairbra Dowling* (Da), Sean Gormley (The Shaughran)*, Kathleen Haverin (The American Language)*, John Keating (Aristocrats)*, Lawrence Lowry (The Shaughran)*, Anto Nolan (Defender of the Faith)* and Laoisa Sexton (The Prophet of Monto)*  *courtesy of AEA

Thomas Delaney (playwright) appeared in the very first production of The Irish Repertory Theatre in 1988, in Sean O'Casey's The Plough And The Stars. He was born in Ireland, served with Irish peacekeeping troops, both in the Congo and Cyprus whilst in his teens, and moved to London in 1969 to pursue a career as an actor.  In 1973 he appeared on the London stage with Judi Dench in Ferenc Molnar's The Wolf. In 1980 he appeared at the Young Vic theatre in his own one-man show The Importance of Being Irish. Two years later he moved to New York and appeared in the Roundabout Theatre's production of Moliere's Learned Ladies. It was the untimely death of Christy Brown in 1981 that got him interested in writing a one-man show based on Christy's extraordinary life. This effort quickly blossomed into a full length play, which took him five years to complete.

Friday, March 25, 2011
3:00 pm

The Winners
by Rosemary Jenkinson

Eddie is tired of life. He’s in debt, his marriage to Maggie is failing and he’s thinking of ending it all. If only he could win the lottery, that would solve all his problems. Or maybe he could just pretend he’s won? The Winners is a black comedy set amidst the underbelly of ‘new’ Belfast, a fast-paced ride through double-dealing and deception.

The Winners will be read by David Wilson Barnes* (Becky Shaw, The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Patch Darragh* (Kin, The Glass Menagerie), Henry Pettigrew* (Beautiful Burnout, Black Watch) and Heidi Schreck* (The Language Archive, Circle Mirror Transformation) *courtesy of AEA

Rosemary Jenkinson (playwright): Rosemary Jenkinson is from Belfast. She was writer-on-attachment at The National Theatre Studio in London 2010. Her first play, The Bonefire, was produced at the Dublin Theatre Festival by Rough Magic in 2006 and subsequently won the Stewart Parker BBC Radio Award. Her plays include The Winners, by Ransom Productions in Belfast (2008), and Johnny Meister and the Stitch, produced in Belfast (2008) by Jigsaw, then touring the West Belfast, Edinburgh and Dublin Fringe Festivals, and also produced by Solas Nua in Washington D.C. in 2010. Her short play, The Lemon Tree, was performed as part of Spinning the Times by Origin Theatre Company in the 1stIrish Festival in New York 2009. Stella Morgan (2010) and Basra Boy (2011) were both produced by The Keegan Theatre in Washington D.C.. Her radio play, Castlereagh to Kandahar, was broadcast as part of BBC3’s ‘The Wire.’ She is also a short story writer and her collection of stories, Contemporary Problems Nos. 53 & 54, was published by Lagan Press in 2004.

Friday, February 18, 2011
3:00 pm

Can't Complain
by Christine Evans

In Can't Complain, Rita hates being confined in a hospital, where her daughter Maureen has placed her for assessment after a small stroke. She plots her escape with the help of her elderly Irish room-mate Iris, her granddaughter Jansis, and her cat's new best friend, the Devil. Rita battles her present situation--until a riotous party night with Iris and the Devil collapses her escape plan and brings her face to face with the remains of her past.

Can’t Complain will be read by Orlagh Cassidy* (Aristocrats, The Field), Kelley Greene* (Winter’s Tale, Skin of Our Teeth), Andy Paris* (A World Apart, Or,) and  Mary Beth Peil* (“The Good Wife,” Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown).*courtesy of AEA

Christine Evans (playwright): Plays include Can't Complain, The Underpass, Trojan Barbie, Slow Falling Bird, Weightless, Mothergun and The Ballad of the Lost Dogs. Published by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus and in Theater Forum, her work has received multiple productions and awards in her native Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. Honors include a Rockefeller Bellagio Center Residency Award, a Fulbright Award, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Playwriting Award, Perishable Theatre's Women's Playwriting Festival Award, the Jane Chambers Award, "Plays for the 21st Century" Award and others. Evans received both her M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Brown and teaches playwriting at Harvard.

Friday, January 28, 2011
3:00 pm

The Almond and the Seahorse
by Kaite O'Reilly

For Gwennan, it’s always 1985. The face in the mirror is unfamiliar and there’s a strange man at the door claiming to be her husband. Joe’s past is coming undone and his partner, Sarah, fears she will be forgotten.

What happens when you have amnesia and are ambushed by time – your memories deleting, relationships erasing?

After the accident Gwennan never came back. Her husband Tom thinks they sent someone else. Sarah has reported Joe missing, but he's standing right beside her. Four lives are trapped in time, but can survivors emerge from the wreckage?

The Almond and The Seahorse focuses on what has been coined 'the silent epidemic' - those who have survived Traumatic Brain Injury. Informed by in-depth research in the US and UK, the play takes a fascinating look at the fragility of memory and the power of devotion, informed by a Disability Perspective.

The Almond and The Seahorse will be read by Reed Birney* (A Small Fire, Circle Mirror Transformation), Michael Chernus* (In The Wake, The Aliens), Terry Donnelly* (The Irish …and How They Got That Way, Sive), Rebecca Harris* (The 39 Steps, Mother Theresa is Dead) and Polly Lee* (Graceland, Slag Heap). *courtesy of AEA

Kaite O’Reilly (playwright): Kate has won various awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (Bush Theatre, London), Manchester Evening News Best Play of 2004 for Perfect (Contact Theatre) and was one of the winners of the 2009 International Susan Smith Blackburn Award for The Almond and the Seahorse (Sherman Cymru, directed by Phillip Zarrilli). Her acclaimed new version of Aeschylus’s Persians was directed in August 2010 by Mike Pearson site-specifically on Ministry of defence land in Wales, part of the inaugural year of National Theatre Wales. It was coined by National UK press as ‘one of the cultural events of 2010.’ She has recently received an Unlimited Commission, part of the Cultural Olympiad for the 2012 London Olympics, to create The ‘D’ Monologues. She is a Fellow of International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures”, Freie Universitat, Berlin. For further information see:

Friday, December 17, 2010
3:00 pm

Comes A Faery
by James McLindon

In James McLindon's Comes A Faery, a single mother is deployed overseas. Her little girl is left with a less-than-willing aunt. A cantankerous Irish fairy, who may or may not have escaped from a favorite storybook, appears. Has he come to keep the lonely child company … or steal her soul?

Comes A Faery will be read by Carlo Alban* (Monstrosity, A Small Melodramatic Story), Rob Campbell* (Lascivious Something, The Singing Forest), Deanne Lorette* (La Bete, The Little Foxes), Nicole Lowrance* (Dividing The Estate, The Merchant of Venice) and Samantha Soule* (Gabriel, The Philanthropist) *courtesy of AEA

James McLindon (playwright): James McLindon’s play, Comes A Faery, was developed this summer at the 2010 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He is currently in residence at CAP21 in New York developing his play, Salvation (formerly, Saving Grace), which will be produced there and at Hudson Stage Company, Giovanna Sardelli directing, in 2010-11. In the last two years, he has had 19 plays produced in theaters across America and the United Kingdom. Distant Music has enjoyed four productions and is slated for a fifth and sixth this season at the Black Swan Theatre of Asheville as winner of the Jane Bingham Prize and at the Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre in Omaha. Dusk and A Brief History of Penguins and Promiscuity premiered at the Grove Theatre Center in Los Angeles in June, 2007 and January, 2008 respectively. Mr. McLindon has recently workshopped Faith at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in McCall, Idaho, and at the Lark Theatre’s Playwrights’ Week in New York. He also recently workshopped Salvation at the PlayPenn Conference in Philadelphia. His other plays have been developed and/or produced at theaters such as the Abingdon, hotINK Festival, Irish Repertory, Samuel French Ten-Minute Play Festival, CAP21, the Estrogenius 2009, Penguin Repertory, Emerging Artists Theatre, Love Creek Productions, and HRC Showcase Theatre in New York; Crossing the Divide Festival in the West End of London; Victory Gardens, Prop Thtr, and Stage Left in Chicago; Lyric Stage and Boston Playwrights Theatre in Boston; Colony Theatre, Theatricum Botanicum, Grove Theatre Center, and Circus Theatricals in Los Angeles; the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, the Telluride Playwrights Festival, the Arkansas Rep in Little Rock, and the Ashland New Plays Festival in Oregon. His plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing and Level 4 Press.

Friday, October 29, 2010
3:00 pm

The Absence of Weather
by Ken Urban

In May 1949, James Forrestal, President Truman’s Secretary of Defense, attempts suicide and his wife commits him to the Bethesda Naval Hospital. The architect of cold-war paranoia fears that Russians have not only infiltrated the highest ranks of the U.S. government, but are hiding in the bushes outside his home. Forrestal confides in a fellow patient about his rise to power and the choices that he made to protect the country. But if a man makes choices he’s not proud of, even if it’s for the larger good, is that man still right? An American tragedy about the wages of fear.

The Absence of Weather will be read by Patrick Breen* (Next Fall, Celebration and The Room), Louis Cancelmi*  (This, The Wooden Breeks), Aysan Celik* (The Black Eyed, Spinning the Times), Dashiell Eaves* (Becky Shaw, The Lieutenant of Inishmore), and Matt Letscher* (The Language Archive, The Rivals). *courtesy of AEA

Ken Urban's plays have been produced and developed at SPF@The Public, The Flea, Williamstown Theater Festival, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theater Workshop, The Huntington, Theatre of NOTE, The Lark, Open Circle Theater and Soho Rep. He is the winner of the 2008 Weissberger Playwriting Award, the 2007 Huntington Playwriting Fellowship, the 2009 Writers' Room of Boston Emerging Writers Fellowship and two summer MacDowell Colony Fellowships. His plays are featured in the anthologies Plays and Playwrights 2002 and New York Theatre Review as well as numerous monologue collections. Ken teaches at Harvard University.

Friday, September 24, 2010
3:00 pm

The Dark Things
by Ursula Rani Sarma

“Death means a lot of money, honey. Death can really make you look like a star.”

Daniel is famous. He has walked away from disaster and turned it into art. As he prepares for the ultimate exhibition of his life, the headlines proclaim him unbreakable. But inside, Daniel is falling apart. LJ has always been a survivor, in total command of her emotions. Since being bound to Daniel by a freak accident, she can’t quite seem to get her heart under control. Steph wants to be special, to have her photo in the paper for once, and not just because she’s Daniel’s sister. Can Karl, who claims to be in ‘production’, invent a future where they both get recognised? Gerry is just holding on. Once an eminent psychiatrist, his methods of healing are at odds with what his profession will tolerate. How can he save Daniel when he can barely help himself? As the destinies of these five lost souls collide, they discover themselves and each other. A brave and brilliant new play about art, fame and death.

With Michael Cerveris* (In The Next Room or the vibrator play, Road Show), Eisa Davis* (Passing Strange, Angela's Mixtape), Annie Parisse* (Becky Shaw, Prelude To A Kiss), Matthew Rauch* (The Merchant of Venice, Still Life), Paul Sparks* (Dusk Rings A Bell, Lady). *courtesy of AEA

Ursula Rani Sarma (playwright) is a writer from the West of Ireland of Irish/Indian descent. Her plays include RIOT (ACT, San Fancisco and Theatre Royal Bath); The Dark Things (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – Best New Play and Best Production, Critics Awards for Scottish Theatre, 2009); The Magic Tree (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival and the Cork Midsummer Festival); The Spider Men (National Theatre and UK Tour); Blue (Project Theatre Dublin, Theatre 503, London and Cork Opera House); When the War Came (New Theatre Company, London); Touched (Asylum Theatre Co, Cork); Orpheus Road (Paines Plough, Theatre); and Gift (Belltable Theatre, Limerick). Her radio plays include A Tiny Light in the Darkness (BBC Radio 3); The Fisherman (RTE Radio 1,) and Car Four (BBC Radio 3) and her work for TV includes an episode of RTE's hit series RAW. Other work includes a translation of Italian Playwright Luca De Bei’s play The Dogs that Face the Hare for the National Theatre, a collection of poetry and work for the screen, including an adaptation of The Dark Things currently in development with The Bureau Film Company London. Ursula is working on an adaptation of Lorca's Yerma which will premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in March 2011. Ursula is also currently under commission to the Traverse Theatre, The Irish Film Board and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

The playwright's participation with the reading was sponsored by Culture Ireland.

The 2010-11 New Works Reading Series is underwritten in part by Alexis Doyle, Patricia Smith,
and the members of our Patron's Circle.












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