In 1904 Dublin poverty and political unrest grip a city struggling for independence just as the Irish National Theatre of Ireland is taking off. In Drexel University’s Co-Op Theater Company production of “Dublin by Lamplight” 40 different characters, represented by a cast of six, cycle through many narratives: Will the King of England be assassinated? Will the laundry girl get her big break? Will the show go on? The show, which is co-produced by Inis Nua Theatre Company, will open in November at Mandell Theater as part of Drexel’s Mandell Professional in Residence Project.
The play takes place within the course of a day, the styling a combination of Vaudeville, American Story Theater (characters narrate their stories directly to the audience in third-person), and Commedia dell’Arte (with traditional masks of Commedia dell’Arte, in this performance replaced by stylized makeup).
This production features a cast of four Drexel students and two Inis Nua professionals. The cast of six portrays 40 different characters in this fast-paced tale. The show will run from Nov. 9-20 in Drexel’s Mandell Theater (33rd & Chestnut Streets).
“For many years I have been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Inis Nua,” said Nick Anselmo, director of the theater program in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. “The playwrights from Ireland and the United Kingdom that they typically produce are some of the best storytellers in the world. Fascinating stories performed or told in amazing ways. I know our students are getting a lot out of learning this style of acting and I’m looking forward to seeing this hilarious, award-winning production.”
Preview performances will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and Thursday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. Opening night is Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. The show will run from Nov. 11-12 and 16-19, at 8 p.m. and Nov. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for Drexel students, faculty and staff with Drexel ID; $15 for non-Drexel students; and $30-35 for general admission. To purchase tickets, click here or call 215-454-9776.
“Dublin by Lamplight” is directed by Tom Reing and features Mike Dees from the original 2011 production. Joining Dees is Rachel Brodeur (from Inis Nua’s “Hooked”). Four Drexel students, from three different colleges, represent the true interdisciplinary nature of the University. Marlyn Logue, (Entertainment & Arts Management) and Drew Dipos, (Music Industry) both come from the Westphal College. Joseph Teti, (Marketing), joins MPiRP from Lebow College of Business and Jacob Kemp, (History) joins from the College of Arts and Sciences. The production team includes Maggie Baker (costumes and makeup) from the original 2011 production and Inis Nua regulars Meghan Jones (set design), Andrew Cowles (lighting) and John Lionarons (music).
“The show itself tells a fantastic story, a story that I think people will find surprisingly relevant. It's funny, it's emotional, it's exciting, and it's told through a compelling aesthetic that isn't quite like anything you've ever seen before,” said Drexel student actor Joseph Teti. “I feel so fortunate to be able to work with the amazing cast and crew that we have. There's great dynamic between the student actors and professional actors.”
Nominated for three Irish Times ESB Irish Theatre Awards 2004, “Dublin” was originally staged by The Corn Exchange in Dublin. Michael West has collaborated with The Corn Exchange many times, including “A Play on Two Chairs” (also staged by Inis Nua). Inis Nua Artistic Director Tom Reing studied at The Corn Exchange and immersed himself in its signature style. Reing says that he “loved the mix of stylized physical acting and strong storytelling in the Corn Exchange style. The style also creates a hyper, dream-like world that I'm happy to play in and explore." He knew he wanted to bring this unique play to Philadelphia, and when he did it became the largest-selling production in Inis Nua’s history.
The North American premiere of “Dublin by Lamplight” was presented by Inis Nua in April 2011 and reprised in September 2011 at 59E59 in New York City as part of the First Irish Theatre Festival. Inis Nua won the First Irish award for best ensemble and The New York Times commended them for “fully commit[ting] to the play’s broad physical comedy.”
Since 2005, Drexel’s Mandell Professionals in Residence Project (MPiRP) has provided administrative and production support to emerging and avant-garde Philadelphia regional theater companies through the theater program at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design while introducing students to the full working process of creating professional theater.
When asked about her experience working with professionals from Philadelphia, Drexel Senior Marilyn Logue said, “As a senior, these connections I’m making now will help me as I go to start my career in the Philadelphia theatre community.”
Theater companies such as Pig Iron Theater Company, New Paradise Laboratories and Azuka Theatre have all staged co-productions at Drexel, featuring students acting alongside professionals, as well as in support roles behind the scenes. In 2009, “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” a partnership with Azuka Theatre, won a Barrymore Award, and in 2012 “The Poet Laureate of Capitalism,” created with The Riot Group, toured to an off-Broadway theater in New York City. Last year, Drexel collaborated with Simpatico Theatre Project to produce “Watership Down,” and the year before partnered with Philadelphia Artists Collective to produce “Blood Wedding,” which was met with rave reviews. For more information about theater at Drexel, visit: http://www.drexel.edu/westphal/minors/THTR/.