Literary lovers and theatre-goers are in for a treat this Spring as three international best-selling novels come to the Danske Bank Stage.
The Lyric Theatre presents stage adaptations of James Joyce’s provocative novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and How Many Miles to Babylon? by L/Derry author Jennifer Johnston.
Two of the plays are at the Lyric this month for one week only as part of Ireland-wide tours.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man presented by The New Theatre company is the first Irish production since the copyright was lifted on James Joyce's work to be performed in Ireland. It is directed by Jimmy Fay, who described Joyce’s novel as “one of the most playful and provocative in the English language”.
“The themes of religion, nationalism and sexuality alongside the birth of an artist’s consciousness make a heady mix and we have strived in this production to be as inventive and theatrical as possible,” he said. “The production places Joyce's writing centre stage in an attempt to make the language soar so people new to Joyce will discover his humour and veteran readers will be engaged by this production’s interpretation of it.”
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man runs from Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 March at 7.45pm. Tickets range from £10 - £20.
Back By Popular Demand
The following week, from 25 – 30 March, sees the return of Tuesdays with Morrie after a successful run last summer at the Lyric.
The autobiographical story by Mitch Albom became a No. 1 International bestseller and saw the author give up journalism to pen a number of hit novels.
Tuesdays with Morrie is the uplifting, true story of the American journalist’s series of meetings with his terminally ill former college professor, Morrie Schwartz. Sixteen years after graduation, Mitch happens to catch Morrie’s appearance on a television news programme and learns that his old professor is battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease (also known as Motor Neurone disease). Mitch is reunited with Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life.
Breda Cashe has directed and produced the stage version adapted by Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher, which has toured to packed houses throughout Ireland. Terry Byrne plays Morrie and Andy Murray is Mitch – together their performances have attracted rave reviews.
World War One Centenary
Described as a “brilliant masterpiece”, the Lyric Theatre is proud to bring the stirring adaptation of Jennifer Johnston’s novel How Many Miles to Babylon? to the Danske Bank Stage at the end of April.
The heart-rending story of two young boys from very different backgrounds who end up fighting in Flanders is presented as part of a global programme of commemorative events to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. The dramatic tale has been adapted by Alan Stanford and has received much critical acclaim on stage in England.
Alec and Jerry are divided by class but united in friendship. One is the only child of Anglo-Irish landowners; the other is from a large family of Irish workers. Brought together by a shared love of horses, the pair enjoy an idyllic childhood on the same estate in County Wicklow.
As war breaks out at the end of 1914, both enlist in the army - and find themselves standing together, yet divided once more by rank. In the fields of Flanders, they must not only endure the horrors of the battlefield, but also face an ordeal that will test their friendship and their loyalty to breaking point.
Philip Wilson directs an impressive cast with Good Vibrations star Ryan McParland taking on the role of the charismatic Jerry and Anthony Delaney (Liola, The Kingdom) as Alec. Lyric audiences may also remember Ryan from Tim Loane’s The Civilisation Game in 2012 as well as the BBC series, Six Degrees set in Belfast.
Catherine Cusack, part of the Irish acting dynasty of Cusacks, plays the cold mother, Alicia Moore opposite Michael James Ford (Becoming Jane; Michael Collins) as her husband. The rest of the cast are Richard Teverson (Brideshead Revisited; Downton Abbey) as Major Glendinning, Jeremy Lloyd (Springs Eternal) as Bennett and Charlie De Bromhead (La Boheme).
“I came across Jennifer Johnston’s novel some years back, when I was researching another First World War story, and her delicate yet heartbreaking account of how young Irish men faced the unimaginable in the trenches has stayed with me ever since,” said the director, Philip Wilson. “So I leapt at the chance to stage Alan Stanford’s poignant and richly evocative adaptation of this classic novel. Alec and Jerry’s friendship – which transcends education, class and religion – is a wonderfully compelling one, and the journey they go on together is truly remarkable.”