Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

1stIrish 2212-webOrigin Theatre artistic director George Heslin, center; New Yiddish Rep artistic director David Mandelbaum, left; and "Waiting for Godot" translator Shane Baker at the seventh annual Origin's 1st Irish launch party on Aug. 26. (Photo by James Higgins)NEW YORK – The only Irish theater festival in New York City is Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival 2014, which is in its seventh year of presenting new plays and musicals and fresh looks at some older works from Erin. This season features Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” in Yiddish with English subtitles. A blurb describes it as “a ‘Godot’ you will understand.” It’s at the Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow St., Greenwich Village.

Origin’s majestic leadership reigns because of George C. Heslin, the wizard who has been putting the festival together all these years. The courage it takes to present seven world premieres and four debuts in America is extraordinary. You can see the full line-up through Sept. 29 on www.1stirish.org. Tickets range from $18 to $40, a lot lower than the costs of Broadway, or even off-Broadway.

There are even a couple of free attractions.

Besides “Waiting for Godot” in Yiddish, there are a few offerings that sounded interesting.

“The McGowan Trilogy,” a serial in three acts by Seamus Scanlon, directed by Kira Simring, is about the Irish revolutionary Victor McGowan It’s at the Cell Theater on W. 23rd St., off of 8th Avenue, 800-838-3006.

“Man in the Moon” by Pearse Elliott, directed by Tony Devlin, features Ciaran Nolan in a tender story of overcoming what life has to offer. It’s at Times Square Arts Club, 300 W. 43rd St., between 8th and 9th avenues.

“Mercy of Trees,” written by Russell Patrick Brown, has a cast of dancers, singers, musicians and storytellers. This is free at the Jefferson Market Library, 425 6th Ave., between 9th and 10th streets.

“Port Authority,” by Conor McPherson, a master poet and wordsmith and one of Ireland’s best contemporary playwrights, will be directed by Ciaran O’Reilly at the Irish Rep, at DR2 Theater, 101
East 15th St., off of Union Square.

Critic Bernard Carragher lives in New York and covers the arts and entertainment.