The Wexford writer and performer Michelle Dooley Mahon has an exciting start to 2020 with the American premiere of her powerful one-woman show 'The Scourge' opening in New York on January 23.
The production which is written and performed by Michelle and directed by Ben Barnes, former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre, will be presented by Irish Repertory Theatre at its W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre on various dates up to February 22, in association with Wexford Arts Centre, as part of the Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival.
Adapted from the writer's autographical novel 'Scourged', the critically-acclaimed had its world premiere in the Arts Centre in April 2018, followed by a short national tour earlier this year as part of the First Fortnight European Mental Health Art and Cultural Festival.
'The Scourge' is inspired by Michelle's late mother Siobhán and the Alzheimer's disease which silenced her, an illness described by her daughter as 'death by a thousand cuts'.
Michelle gives voice to Siobhán in the show, reliving with emotion and humour the years her mother spent in a nursing home, unable to communicate. She introduces characters, memories, personal experiences and a nostalgic archive of an ordinary small-town Irish family forced to become extraordinary in their attempt to cope.
The US production supported by the Arts Council and Wexford County Council, will feature set design by Mark Redmond, costume design by Francis White, lighting design by Matt Deane and sound design by Jamie Beamish. Kate Sheldon is production stage manager.
It will be presented in the W. Scott McLucas Theatre on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets at €50 each are available from www.irishrep.org.
Wexford Arts Centre is delighted to be bringing new Wexford female theatrical talent to New York, according to Executive Director Elizabeth Whyte.
'The closest I've ever been to Off Broadway was hitching from Killinick', said Michelle, of her upcoming theatrical adventure as 'a raving insomniac loon in a city that never sleeps'.
'I appear to be entirely incapable of heeding my da's advice to stop making a show of myself. The hardest part of the trip is leaving my da and dogs'.
'I'll only realise it's happening when I'm actually on the plane', she said.
The award-winning Irish Reportory Theatre was co-founded by producing director Ciarán O'Reilly and artistic director Charlotte Moore and first opened its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars.
It is currently the only year-round theatre company in New York city devoted to bringing Irish and Irish American works to the stage.
Every year, almost 50,000 audience members attend productions at the theatre which is located in the heart of New York's Off-Broadway community.
Origin Theatre Company, with artistic director George C. Heslin, produces New York premieres of contemporary works from Europe. It organises the annual Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival in January and also produces the European Month of Culture NYC in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the U.S.
The Scourge is one of 15 events taking place during the 12th Origin festival, featuring artists from Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Wexford, Limerick , Queens and Manhattan. The month-long festival presents acclaimed plays from the island of Ireland, as well as new plays developed in New York. The Scourge is an official selection of the juried festival. A preview of the show will take place on January 22.