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 To find out about GTG’s Shaw Project and “Village Wooing,” please visit

Posted in Bloom's day, Irish theatre, James Joyce, Malachy McCourt, Origins Theatre Company, Sean Mahon

What does June 16th mean to you?

There are just 198 days that follow to the end of the year. 

Thorsten Pohl Thpohl – Own work

But, the significance of June 16th to the lit. crowd is that in 1924 James Joyce declared it to be Bloomsday. June 16, 1904 is the date of the events in his very long novel “Ulysses” and the day is named for its protagonist Leopold Bloom. 

June 16, 2014 Origin’s First Bloom at Bloom’s Taven of course.
Photo by Jimmy Higgins.

Bloomsday, or for the Irish purists, Lá Bloom, is most often commemmorated with readings from the novel. In the interest of full disclosure and total honesty, I will admit that what I know of the work is from NPR’s presentation of the annual Symphony Space event. 

Origin Theatre Company, a New York City “gateway for European playwrights,” hosted its first ever Lá Bloom at the new midtown tavern aptly named Bloom’s. The bar provided an excellent full Irish breakfast and 7:30am mimosas served by a friendly staff; costumed actors greeted arrivals with flowers and flower petals. 

Malachy McCourt, gracious and charming, was on hand to kick off the readings. He chose a passage about Hell from Joyce’s “The Governors” but tweaking tradition is a lovely thing to do.  Ireland’s soon to be ex-Consul General, Noel Kilkenny told of his role in interpreting “Ulysses” for a Chinese translation long ago. Actors including Conor MacNeill (currently on Broadway in the “The Cripple of Inishmaan”), Sean Mahon (who starred on Broadway in “The Seafarer” and “The 39 Steps” and is featured in the film “Philomena”), Jo Kinsella (“For Love,” and the Irish Rep’s “Dancing at Lughnasa”) performed their Joycean catechisms with the joy befitting the day.

Here’s to the second annual Origin Bloomsday! A resounding chorus of what was dubbed “Origin’s First Bloom, at Bloom’s Tavern, of course” rang out at the festivities.

Learn more about the Origin Theatre Company by going to their website, Bloom’s Tavern is located at 208 East 58th Street, and on the web at