Thursday, December 03, 2009

POW! (Play Of The Week)

The Walworth Farce and The New Electric Ballroom
by Enda Walsh

Modern Irish theatre enthusiasts who haven’t already will want to check out Enda Walsh’s new two-play collection, The Walworth Farce and The New Electric Ballroom. Walsh’s keen talent for witty, absurd dialogue (and monologues) makes these plays a delight and a challenge for the reader and audience member. They both explore Irish mythmaking and creative interpretations of the past.

The Walworth Farce and The New Electric Ballroom were both produced by The Druid Theatre in Galway and moved on to win Edinburgh Fringe First Awards in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Both made their American debuts at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.

The Walworth Farce revolves around Dinny, an Irish man, and his two sons in a subsidized apartment in South London dramatizing the heroic tale of his departure from Ireland. Their daily ritual of cross-dressing, carrying around cardboard coffins and playing old Irish ballads is interrupted by a change in routine and a fourth member of the cast unwillingly joins their farce. These changes also cause the sons to question the truth behind Dinny’s story. A humorous and exhausting tale of male bravado and the crippling fear of change, subverts the legacy of Synge, Yeats, Friel and even McDonagh in a surprising and disturbing way.

Cast: 3m, 1w

A companion piece to The Walworth Farce in theme and structure, The New Electric Ballroom is set in a "poxy harbour town" in the west of Ireland. Three unmarried sisters live together in the family house and relive their glory days of adolescence leading up to one night at the New Electric Ballroom that shattered their dreams of romance and escape. Their charade is occasionally interrupted by Patsy, the lonely fishmonger, with his own stories of life in the village and social anxiety. The play is equal parts Three Sisters and Beauty Queen of Leenane with a gorgeous lyricism that turns universal heartbreak and disappointment into a funny and bleak exploration of storytelling and the inability to move forward and take risks.

Cast: 3w, 1m

Scenes/Monologues: Lyrical monologues for men and women (40s, 60s), funny and bizarre scenes for men and women (20s, 40s, 60s).

Recommended by: Kate

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