Marni rice

Tales of survival in City of Light

A standing room only crowd greeted first time presenter Sanem Ozdural at the recent Irish American Writers & Artists’ Salon at the Cell Theater. Sanem, a New Yorker by way of New Orleans, England and Turkey opened the evening with her debut novel LiGa, a story of a bridge tournament in which the players are, literally, gambling with their lives. In the reading we were introduced to the colorful cast of players, which included, among others, a formula one driver, a judge, and a Jesuit priest. It was a great beginning to a great evening.

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Three women presenting entirely different works followed. First, Mary Tierney, with actor Ron Ryan, delivered a powerful performance of the first in a series of Haiku Plays, by Chris Force. Novelist Mary Carter, who has written six novels and three novellas for Kensington Books, and is currently working on her seventh novel and fourth novella, both of which will be published in 2013, read beautifully from her sixth novel, “The Things I Do For You.” And Honor Molloy presented “Backassed,” a brief memoir that tracks the end of a relationship, and the end of an era. Packed with emotion, Honor’s readings are always a tour de force and this performance was no exception.

Marni Rice, Chanteuse-Accordionist & Theatre Artist, presented an excerpt from her solo play “Tales from Paris/Contes de Paris,” an autobiographical story about an American woman who goes to Paris with $100, a handful of songs and an accordion to discover the City of Light. Combining song, story and character she spins the tale of a street musician whose survival is dependent upon the assistance granted by the kindness of strangers. An exciting, passionate performance by a multi-talented artist.

Niamh Hyland, who recently appeared at Lincoln Center’s OurLand Fest and sang Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” wowed the audience with a reprise of her performance. Singing a cappella, Niamh’s bravura performance was one of the evening’s many great highlights.

Harpist, songwriter Russell Patrick Brown ended the evening with the performance of a song titled “Little Animals,” which was inspired by a cat he ran over, which now shall live on forever in his angelic song played with harp, accompanied by, as Russell calls it, “his dulcet vocal tones.” Russell is a well-known New York town bard, a few parts American, and shockingly, even a little Irish. Why shockingly? You’ll have to hear him. Great act.

Salons are normally held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The next salon will be at the Thalia Café, located at Broadway and 95th Street, on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.