Inis Nua Theatre Company is finishing its season with the Philadelphia premiere of Enda Walsh's The Walworth Farce, a dark comedy by one of Ireland's most celebrated contemporary playwrights. The show runs May 8-27 at the Off-Broad Street Theatre at First Baptist Church, 1636 Sansom Street. Opening night is Wednesday, May 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$25 and are available by phone at 215-454-9776 or online at www.inisnuatheatre.org.
In this piece, Walsh, the book writer of the musical adaptation of the movie Once, transports audiences to a rundown tenement block where a father and his two sons reside. Each night, Dinny pushes sons Blake and Sean to join him in a reenactment of the stories behind their flight from Cork to this bleak council flat in London. Throughout this play within a play, audiences see how the stories shape their perceptions and their current lives. Existing almost solely within these stories, the family performs this ritual daily, but on this day their play will be knocked off course.
Artistic Director Tom Reing says, "Inis Nua always strives to produce the best in Contemporary Theatre from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and The Walworth Farce is one of the best contemporary plays from Ireland I have read. I look forward to giving Philadelphia audiences a chance to see this exciting piece of theatre."
The premiere of the play was a runaway hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and went on to tour the U.K. The New York Times raved about the US premiere. "The Walworth Farce...is unmistakably an Irish play. Its cheerful integration of homicidal horror into daily domestic routine brings to mind the bloody hearths in Martin McDonagh's Leenane trilogy. Its depiction of storytelling as a necessary defensive art is at the heart of works like Brian Friel's Faith Healer and Conor McPherson's Weir. As for its mock-heroic exaggerations, well, they're as old as Ireland itself."
Tom Reing directs The Walworth Farce. Harry Smith stars as Blake, Bill Van Horn appears as Dinny, Jake Blouch is cast as Sean, and Leslie Nevon Holden is playing Hayley. The artistic team joining Reing includes: Set Designer Meghan Jones, Lighting Designer Andrew Cowles, Costume Designer Maggie Baker, Sound Designer Nick Kourtides, and Fight Choreographer J. Alex Cordaro.
Inis Nua first produced work by Enda Walsh in 2010 when they staged Bedbound. His plays, including Disco Pigs, Bedbound, Small Things, Chatroom, New Electric Ballroom, Penelope, and The Walworth Farce, have been translated into more than 20 languages and have had productions throughout Europe and in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. He has written for the silver screen, penning the screenplay of the film Disco Pigs, which starred Cilian Murphy, and co-writing the screenplay for Hunger directed by Steve McQueen and starring Michael Fassbender. Hunger won numerous awards including the Caméra d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, Best Film Award from the Evening Standard British Film Awards 2009 and a nomination for Best British Film at the 62nd British Academy Film Awards.
Inis Nua Theatre Company produces contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales that reflect those cultural identities in today's world.
Formed in 2004, Inis Nua seeks to promote playwrights who have not made it to America via the West End-Broadway-Regional theatre path. Inis Nua has produced thirteen productions, including five American premieres. The company began by self-producing for the Philadelphia Fringe and in 2007, was invited to produce for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the curated portion of the festival. In 2009, Inis Nua moved from producing a single production a year, to producing a two-play season. In 2010, it expanded to a three-show season, which it continues today. In September 2011, Inis Nua produced Dublin by Lamplight Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters as part of the 1st Irish Festival. Inis Nua returned to Philadelphia and moved into the recently opened Off Broad Street Theatre space at First Baptist Church in Center City. After eight years, Inis Nua now has a regional, national and international reputation.