Posted in Bloom's day, Bloomsday, James Joyce

One bloomin’ grand day

from http://www.origintheatre.org/
from http://www.origintheatre.org/

The Irish have given English its heart, wit and a pleasant-to-the-ear lilt. They have a smart and soulful way with the English language, which is celebrated, in part, by the annual reading of James Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses.

What better place to honor Bloomsday than at Bloom’s Tavern, one of several New York hang-outs for Joyce’s (or is Harold Bloom’s) big day? The 2016 Bloomsday celebration was also the centenniel of Irish independency. “Origin’s 3rd Bloom… @ Bloom’s Tavern of Course!” is organized by  Origin Theatre Company.  There was music by the Irish-folk-rock troubadour Alan Gogarty; actors in costume greeted visitors for a feast of an Irish breakfast. As is the custom on Bloomsday, actors recreate the summer morning chronicled by James Joyce in Ulysses set in Dublin on June 16, 112 years ago.

Reading from the magnum opus were, among others, Fionnula Flanagan, Malachy McCourt, Alfie McCourt, author Colin Broderick and actors Terry Donnolly, Patrick Fitzgerald, Brenda Meaney,  and Fiona Walsh. Also on hand for the festivities was David Staller, champion of all things Shavian, and Charlotte Moore, doyenne of the Irish Rep. Jonathan Brielle, author, composer and lyricist of Himself and Nora  introduced the musical through songs performed by its stars, Matt Bogart and Whitney Bashor.

Joyce coined the idea of Bloomsday, himself, inaugurating the event on June 16, 1924.
The cast and presenters at the 2016  “Origin’s 3rd Bloom…” carried the tradition of the day forward with reverence and humor.

You may be interested in hearing what we’ve said about past Bloomsday celebrations as well: http://wp.me/p5jq0w-3C. Read The New Yorker‘s analysis of what is or is no longer shocking about Joyce’s shocking book.

 

Posted in comedy, drama, theater

How “The New Morality” Turned Society Upside Down

The New Morality, extended to October 25th with a closing night party Mint-ophiles will want to attend. The BIG news, the Mint is moving from its current digs at 311 W 43 St to an as yet unknown destination.

–TB

"Photo: "The New Morality" By Harold Chapin Directed by Jonathan Bank Cast: Christian Campbell Clemmie Evans Michael Frederic Kelly McCready Brenda Meaney Ned Noyes Douglas Rees presented by The Mint Theater Company; Dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, August 21, 2015; 2:00 PM at Mint Theater, New York, NY; Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine. PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine"
“Photo: “The New Morality”
By Harold Chapin
Directed by Jonathan Bank
Cast:
Christian Campbell
Clemmie Evans
Michael Frederic
Kelly McCready
Brenda Meaney
Ned Noyes
Douglas Rees
presented by The Mint Theater Company; Dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, August 21, 2015; 2:00 PM at Mint Theater, New York, NY; Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine.
PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine”

Changing social mores are often cause for consternation. A breach in decorum could lead to  upheaval. In the 1920’s, this new liberalism was widely labelled a new morality. Harold Chapin had a lot to do with the coining of the phrase that was associated with liberalism and different social norms. Chapin, a popular playwright and a war hero who met his untimely death on the battlefield in 1915, left behind a comedy, The New Morality, that was first produced posthumously in 1921 to great acclaim.

The breach in The New Morality, at the Mint through October 18th, seems very slight, yet it unleashes a very funny and poignant play.

 Brenda Meaney and Clemmie Evans in a scene from The New Morality, now extended to October 18th at the Mint Theater.
Brenda Meaney and Clemmie Evans in a scene from The New Morality, now extended to October 18th at the Mint Theater. All photos by Richard Termine.

The Mint Theater Company launches The New Morality in order to commemmorate the centenary and honor the memory of a very fine playwright.

Chapin’s comedy of ill-manners invokes a Shavian heroine ala Man and Superman. In The New Morality, Betty Jones (the superb Brenda Meaney) makes a scene heard up and down river from the deck of her neighbor’s houseboat. Her outrage is over the dance Muriel Wister (an off-stage presence) has led her husband, Col Ivor Jones (Michael Frederic).

Christian Campbell, Brenda Meaney, Ned Noyes, Clemmie Evans, Michael Frederic in a scene from The New Morality, at the Mint Theater.
Christian Campbell, Brenda Meaney, Ned Noyes, Clemmie Evans, Michael Frederic in a scene from The New Morality, at the Mint Theater.

 

Betty will eventually be championed by an unexpected and unlikely source. In the meantime, she has the support of her faithful and mild-mannered friend, Alice Meynell (Clemmie Evans.) Mueriel’s husband, Teddy (Ned Noyes) has the unhappy task of demanding an apology on his wife’s behalf.

Watching Noyes’ Teddy spontaneously combust while “in his cups” is one of the many pleasures The New Morality affords.

In honor of the centenary of Harold Chapin’s heroic death on the battlefield in 1915, Mint Theater (Jonathan Bank, Producing Artistic Director; Jen Soloway, Managing Director) is proud to present The New Morality, now extended for one additional week, to October 18th, at the Mint Theater.
In honor of the centenary of Harold Chapin’s heroic death on the battlefield in 1915, Mint Theater (Jonathan Bank, Producing Artistic Director; Jen Soloway, Managing Director) is proud to present The New Morality, now extended for one additional week, to October 18th, at the Mint Theater.

Is Betty’s moral indignation –and subsequent inflexibility– a new standard for right and wrong?The sense that women act, feel, react, think and see differently from men is a commonplace of psychology. In our modern parlance, human beings are divided as Martians and Venusians, and this observance underlies much of the story of The New Morality. Vive la différence!

The acting, with Jonathan Bank’s tender mercies as director, is perfect. The ensemble are all excellent and accomplished, including Kelly McCready as the maid, Lesceline, and Douglas Rees as a dedicated manservant, Wooten.

Brenda Meaney’s Betty stands out in the cast, displaying a willfulness that is as charming as it is exasperating.

For more information on The New Morality and the 2015-16 Mint season, please visit http://minttheater.org/