The Irish Repertory Theatre presents Two By Synge in the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre
April 13, 2022 – May 22, 2022
By John Millington Synge
Directed by Charlotte Moore
With Ciaran Bowling, Terry Donnelly, Sean Gormley, John Keating, and Jo Kinsella
Sarah Casey, the Beauty of Ballinacree, has aspirations to be married by a priest to the tinker Michael Byrne in The Tinker’s Wedding. But his mother, the “old flagrant heathen” Mary Byrne, has other ideas. The boisterous Mary steals Sarah’s hard-earned savings to spend on a pint, and the two scuffle as the wedding day dawns. When the priest can’t be paid the shilling and tin can he has been promised, Sarah turns her wrath on Mary, and we begin to wonder if the pagan rituals of peasants aren’t perhaps more honorable than the behavior of a corrupt priest.
In the Shadow of the Glen opens in the midst of a storm as a Tramp seeking lodging for the night finds the downtrodden young Nora Burke preparing an impromptu wake. Her layabout husband Dan has died suddenly, but not without cursing Nora that none should touch his body. Nora and the Tramp share supernatural tales and dream of what life could be, but when Nora leaves to call for the young neighbor Micheal, we learn that there is more to the story. Is all as it seems?
Two by Synge pairs early masterpieces by JM Synge, inspired by the stories he heard and witnessed while living among poor Irish peasants (at the behest of none other than WB Yeats) at the turn of the twentieth century. Synge celebrates the hardscrabble lives of country people, especially the headstrong and powerful women.
Synge began composing The Tinker’s Wedding and The Shadow of the Glen in the summer of 1902. Glen was finished first and premiered in 1903 at the Molesworth Hall, Dublin. Wedding was not completed until December 1907. It premiered at His Majesty’s Theatre in London in 1909, seven months after Synge’s death at 37 from Hodgkin’s disease. Wedding was poorly received in its time and did not receive a performance at the Abbey Theatre until 1971. In the years after Glen‘s premiere, the Abbey Theatre players toured the United States, led by Lady Gregory, and performed Glen in their repertory.