Posted in 1st Irish Fesitval, George Bernard Shaw, Irish theatre, Samuel Beckett, Yiddish Waiting for Godot

Vahr ist Godot?

Poster from 1st Irish website

Samuel Beckett gets a fresh start as New Yiddish Rep renders his seminal absurdist masterwork “Waiting for Godot” in Yiddish for the first time, at the Barrow Street Theatre beginning tomorrow, Thursday, September 4th.  The play is translated by Shane Baker, and returns to New York for 12 performances only through September 21.

“Vartn Auf Godo” is presented in New York  on the heels of its European premiere in Northern Ireland where it opened the 3rd annual Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, which ran from July 31 to August 10. Beckett wrote the play in ’48-’49 although its world premiere at the Théatre de Babylone in Paris did not occur until 1953. 

This production of this Irish born playwright’s work is presented as part of Origin’s 1st Irish Festival.

Not part of the 1st Irish, but an Irishman nonetheless, and an oft-quoted playwright, George Bernard Shaw is the Gingold Theatrical Group’s “project” on Mondays at Symphony Space. 

GBSwas never shy about the breadth and places in which his ideas played out. His “Village Wooing,” written in 1933,is a romance set on the high seas. See the seldom-seen play for two voices at GTG at Symphony Space on Monday, Sep 29th. 

For more on “Vartn Auf Godo” and the Origin’s 1st Irish Festival, please visit http://1stirish.org/. To find out about GTG’s Shaw Project and “Village Wooing,” please visit http://www.symphonyspace.org/.

Posted in 1st Irish Fesitval, Irish drama, Ross Dungan

Missed connections in the sad "Life… of Eric Argyle"

Davey Kelleher and Manus Halligan in “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lucy Nuzum

That old saying about “living lives of quiet desperation” comes to mind from time to time.

In Ross Dungan’s “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters, through September 29th, it is a constant theme.

Katie Lyons, Karen Sheridan and Erica Murray in “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lucy Nuzum

The construct in “…Eric Argyle” is sort of a death council, gathered to judge him on the basis of the contents of a book he has written. That book is as disorganized — he began it on page 231 and moved on to page 656–  as the plot of the play that houses it. The lilt of the Irish has great appeal so they can say “shite-all” and still charm. Nonetheless, the story here is more than a bit murky.

Dave McEntegart and Karen Sheridan in “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lucy Nuzum

Narration to further exposition is static, and the use of the countdown of time fails to create the intended urgency.

The cast of eight are fine, muddling gamely in and out of a variety of characters. The two Erics (Dave McEntegart as the older and James Murphy as the younger) are preeminently sad sack.

There is also background music to “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle” strumming on random occasions. The fantastically messy set, designed by Colm McNally, is dispatched for multi-purpose by the hard-working ensemble. 

For more information about “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” visit www.59e59.org.