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‘Pillow’ examines love, betrayal, trust

Jacqueline Kealy, John McConnell and Brona Crehan in “Pillow on the Stairs” at the Cell Theatre this month. [Click on image for larger view.]


By Peter McDermott

After readings and workshop tryouts in 2014, all of the advice offered to playwright Brona Crehan could be boiled down to: “Do a full staging.”

Now, an off-Broadway production of her “Pillow on the Stairs” is at hand. Crehan herself will play one of the three roles at the Cell Theatre on West 23rd Street from Feb. 11 through Feb. 28, alongside Jacqueline Kealy and John McConnell.

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“What follows creates a web of secrets and denials that binds this trio of ordinary, flawed individuals together for a lifetime,” announces the publicist’s handout about the subject matter, adding that it’s an “intimate story about love, loyalty, betrayal, and trust.”

The Dublin-born playwright said the starting point for the John Keating-directed play is: “Ever wonder what your life would be like if you had made one decision differently?”

“People have been very enthusiastic and supportive,” Crehan added.

“I’m wearing a number of hats. I’m producing and all that goes with that,” said the married mother of 8-year-old and soon to be 6-year-old sons. “It’s been quite a learning experience.

“I’ve surprised myself with fundraising,” she said. “I’ve never liked to ask for money.”

But she was impressed with the philosophy of the Irish Arts Center’s Pauline Turley, who said: “If you don’t ask the question, the answer is always going to be no.”

Actors Kealy and McConnell did not say “no” to Crehan when she came calling. She knows the pair, who are husband and wife, going back to 1996 when they were on stage in “The Lobby,” written by fellow Dublin-born playwright, Don Creedon. She was also introduced to another of the production’s actors Dave Davitt, who later became her husband.

“So, Don has a lot to answer for,” Crehan deadpanned

Performance of “Pillow on the Stairs” are, beginning Feb. 11, on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays at 7 p.m., with an additional performance on Saturday, Feb. 28. Tickets are $30, available at 800-838-3006 or www.thecelltheatre.org.