Following its hit, extended virtual run of Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney, Off-Broadway theatre Irish Rep has announced that it will present a full season of online work this summer. The virtual programming will feature four productions, including a world premiere and three earlier productions re-imagined for the screen.
Irish Repertory Theatre's summer lineup kicks off with the world premiere of The Gifts You Gave to the Dark, written by Darren Murphy (Irish Blood, English Heart) in response to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. The online work stars Seán McGinley (Braveheart), Tony winner Marie Mullen (The Beauty Queen of Leenane), and Marty Rea (Whistle in the Dark), and is about a son, confined to his bed in Belfast with the coronavirus, who calls his dying mother in Dublin to tell her a story.
Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, the associate director of the Abbey Theatre, and featuring music by Carl Kennedy, The Gifts You Gave to the Dark will premiere on Irish Rep's YouTube May 27 at 6 PM ET and will remain online through October.
The summer programming will also feature three more shows as part of Irish Rep's A Performance on Screen series (launched with Molly Sweeney). The three productions re-imagined for the online space are 2019's Yes! Reflections of Molly Boom, from the novel Ulysses by James Joyce, adapted for the stage by Aedín Moloney and Colum McCann, with music by Paddy Moloney, and starring Moloney (June 16–20); the 2013 staging of Conor McPherson's The Weir, starring Dan Butler, Sean Gormley, John Keating, Amanda Quaid, and Tim Ruddy, directed by Ciarán O’Reilly (July 21–25); and Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward, written and devised by Barry Day, directed by Charlotte Moore, and starring Steve Ross and KT Sullivan.
To view the performances, audience members must register at IrishRep.org for one of the performance dates. Reservations are now open to Irish Rep members and will open to the public beginning June 1.
Rounding out the online programming will be a one-night celebration on June 8 called The Irish (Rep)… and How We Got That Way: A Celebration of Endurance and Perseverance Through Hard Times. The evening, which will act as a benefit in place of the theatre's usual annual gala, will feature a screening of Irish Rep's 1998 world-premiere production of The Irish… and How They Got That Way by Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt, as well as conversations with Irish Rep Co-Founders Moore and O’Reilly, board chair Kathleen Begala, McCourt’s widow and Irish Rep board chair emerita Ellen McCourt, and McCourt’s brother Malachy McCourt. Following the premiere stream, the video will remain available through June 14.
VIP tickets, with access to a private Zoom pre-show reception, start at $500. Tickets to the fundraiser are available now at IrishRep.org.