Playwright Honor Molloy.
PHOTO BY PETER MCDERMOTT
By Peter McDermott
Origin’s 1st Irish Festival creates lots of talking points each fall, but a particular standout in that regard in 2016 was “Crackskull Row” by Honor Molloy, which played at the Workshop Theatre in Manhattan. And that’s one reason it’s back, this time at the Irish Repertory Theatre for a six-week run beginning tomorrow night.
In an Echo review, Frances Scanlon described “Crackskull Row” as “stunning and brilliant in its unrelenting intensity.”
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The New York Times’ Andy Webster called it a “richly satisfying drama,” which explores “rage, dissolution, sexual perversity and family history with a bleak and penetrating acuity.” He added that “it’s Ms. Molloy’s salty, slangy yet singsong dialogue that most resonates.”
The Echo caught up again with Molloy to ask about the play and its new run.
John Charles McLaughlin and Gina Costigan in “Crackskull Row.”
PHOTO BY MICHAEL BONASIO
Tell us something about Crackskull Row?
It’s a drama about a Dublin family that plays out in 1999 and 1966. It’s epic. Of Grecian proportions. Kira Simring – Artistic Director of Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre – discovered it two years ago. George Heslin picked it up for inclusion in Origin’s 1st Irish Festival 2016, and the cell produced it at the Workshop Theatre last September. Terry Donnelly was majestic as Masher, a woman ensnared in the ruins of her past. Colin Lane brought a gaunt and haunted depth to the part of Basher. Gina Costigan was pure, living emotion as Dolly and John Charles McLaughlin’s portrayal of Young Rash would break your heart.
What was your reaction to that Times review?
I was avoiding the reviews – but who could ignore a review like Andy Webster’s? It exceeded my wildest expectations. Actually, I don’t know that I had any expectations. I was just hoping the play would be heard and the beautiful work of the cast and director and designers would be appreciated. It was a complete surprise. I was so startled by it I hopped on a bus to Allentown to read the review aloud to my mother.
Tell us about moving the cell’s production to the Irish Rep?
Producing Director Ciarán O’Reilly contacted Kira just before Christmas. We immediately jumped into action, checking to see if the cast and the artistic team were available for a six-week run.
Fortunately, everyone was eager to head back to “The Row” for another bash at the play. We are determined not to repeat ourselves. As Lighting Designer Gertjan Houben said, “It’s not worth doing again, unless we do it better.”
How does it feel to return to the ‘Row?
In a word: thrilling. A play is such a transient thing; it only exists when it’s performed, and it only lives on in the minds of those who saw it. The production at Irish Rep keeps “Crackskull Row” alive.
Have you made any changes?
A number of them. Director Kira Simring and I have looked at certain aspects of the play and its first production. “Crackskull” had to be marginally re-designed and re-directed for the Irish Rep’s space. I’ve made a few small but crucial changes in the script.
What are your hopes for this incarnation?
Thanks to Charlotte Moore and Ciarán we have this opportunity to bring the cell’s production to a wider audience and I look forward to hearing how the Rep’s subscribers respond
For tickets call the Box Office: 212.727.2737 or go to irishrep.org.