Wednesday 16 October 2019

All-star cast set to shine in O'Neill play

Stage and screen actors to perform in Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic, writes David Looby

Cathy Belton
Cathy Belton

An all star cast has been announced for the production of a staged reading of 'Strange Interlude', the epic Pulitzer Prize-winning Eugene O'Neill play which will be showcased as part of the second annual Eugene O'Neill Festival of Theatre in New Ross, running from this October 9 to October 13.

The play is rarely performed and is a masterpiece of American theatre.

It will be presented in two parts at the Eugene O'Neill Festival and includes a buffet dinner at the Dunbrody Visitor Centre during the interval.

'Strange Interlude' is directed by Ben Barnes, with a top-class cast of international actors of stage and screen including, Jamie Beamish, Des Keogh, Cathy Belton, Killian Coyle, Peter Gaynor, Maria Guiver, Mark Lambert and Julia Lane.

Actor Jamie Beamish is from Waterford and based in London. He has had appearances on several television series over the years.

Des Keogh is a veteran of Irish stage, TV and radio and is probably one of Ireland's most well-known actors. He toured widely with his award-winning one-man show called The Love-Hungry Farmer, an adaptation by Keogh from a work by the Irish playwright John B. Keane,

Cathy Belton will next be seen on screen in Herself, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Her screen credits include Philomena, A Little Chaos and My Name Is Emily to name but a few. Cathy can currently be seen in BBC's The Woman in White, as well as the new Alison Spittle TV series Nowhere Fast on RTE.

Killian Coyle will next be seen on screen in BBC's new series Dublin Murders, due for release later this year.

Killian is a Dublin based actor and producer whose recent work includes Finding Joy and Fair City. He will also be hitting the screens in Dublin Murders.

Dublin based actor Peter Gaynor performed in Vikings (2013), Bloom (2003) and Rough Diamond (2006) and The Tudors. He also has starred on stage in Hamlet, Jane Eyre, All My Sons at The Gate Theatre, The Constant Wife at The Abbey and many more.

Maria Guiver is a British-American actress who has recently finished filming the role of Delilah in Miss Scarlet and The Duke, a new series for PBS and A&E Networks starring Kate Phillips (Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders, Wolf Hall).

Actor Mark Lambert was recently seen on stage in The Ferryman on Broadway. He also recently performed the role of Bertie Ahern in the feature film called The Journey directed by Nick Hamm and recently appeared on Fair City,

Julia Lane has worked as a London-based actress in the 80s and 90s, appearing on stage and TV.

The Eugene O'Neill Festival of Theatre in New Ross opens on Thursday, October 10, with a production of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece Long Day's Journey Into Night.

The play tells the story of the O'Neill family's emigration from Tinneranny outside New Ross. The US cast is from the Eugene O'Neill Foundation in California and arrives to perform the quintessential Irish story on stage at St Michael's Theatre. The US production is directed by Eric-Fraisher Hayes and includes a US cast of characters including actors Kevin Copps, Carole Swann, Ryan Hayes, Caitlin Evenson and Ben Elie.

Twice daily aboard the Dunbrody Famine Ship will be the Glencairn Cycle of Plays, a series of three one-act plays: Bound East for Cardiff, The Long Voyage Home and In the Zone, directed by Paul Walsh set aboard the fictional ship the 'SS Glencairn'. These three one-act plays will be presented in one sitting lasting an hour.

A number of lunchtime sessions will also be on offer on October 10 and October 11 at 1 p.m., featuring a programme of readings and performances of a selection of O'Neill's short plays and writings.

Closing the festival on Sunday evening and nurturing the talent of the local modern-day playwright will be a production of The Diary of Maynard Perdu written and directed by the award-winning Wexford playwright Billy Roche and starring the acclaimed actor and musician Peter McCamley. The Diary Of Maynard Perdu is set in the fantastic, mirrored, burlesque world of the Spiegeltent where fantasy and delusion reign supreme. Based on the novella by Billy Roche. this one-man show takes us on a romantic journey of adventure and intrigue all of which serves to mask the pain and loss that are buried deep within.

A programme of Eugene O'Neill scholarly events is also set to take place in conjunction with Waterford Institute of Technology and at New Ross Library during the festival.

Tickets to the festival weekend at St Michael's Theatre are available at €100. Tickets for individual events are available from €15; for further details see or call 051 421255

The festival takes place in partnership with the US festival in California named after the playwright, whose family hails from Tinnerany. It is co-chaired by Sean Reidy, former CEO of the Kennedy Trust, together with Dan McGovern, President of The Eugene O'Neill Foundation, with Tomás Kavanagh as festival director, Dr Richard Hayes of WIT as academic adviser and Alice O'Neill McLoughlin, one of Eugene O'Neill's remaining Irish relatives from Tinneranny.

New Ross Standard