The best theatre shows to catch this week
If the nation does not come to the theatre, the theatre must go out to the nation
Charlene McKenna, The Great Gatsby Gate Theatre. Dublin
Peacock Stage at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Until July 15th 8pm €14-€18 abbeytheatre.ie
For a cemetery, the Père Lachaise can be a lively place. This is where Oscar Wilde is buried, where Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison all came to rest. It is also one of the inspirations behind Forever, a one-woman play by Dael Orlandersmith, which debuted in LA, in 2014, moving soon after to New York, the city of Orlandersmith’s birth.
A poet and actor from East Harlem, whose work often focuses on the tangled inheritance of family, Orlandersmith gives a semi-autobiographical account of her troubled relationship with her mother. There is an Irish connection that the play reveals, which may resonate during its short commitment at the Peacock.
The Great Gatsby
Gate Theatre, Dublin. July 6th-Sept 16th; Tues-Sat 7.30pm (Sat mat 2.30pm, Sun perf 4pm) €28-€42 gatetheatre.ie
It’s all change at the Gate Theatre for the first production in Selina Cartmell’s new programme as artistic director, and one of the most notable transformations will be that of the theatre itself. The building – not just its auditorium and its stage – will be playing the role of the Gatsby Mansion in director Alexander Wright’s immersive, interactive adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.
Audiences are encouraged to dress up in 1920s regalia and explore the space with the cast as the narrative unfurls, delivered by stalwarts Owen Roe and Marty Rea together with newcomers Charlene McKenna and Paul Mescal (the leads). There’s also a champagne bar. This is new theatre for a venerable space and easily the hottest ticket in town. “I like large parties,” as the man himself put it. “They’re so intimate.”
Touring pubs nationally until Aug 5. 8pm, for full details see abbeytheatre.ie
Speaking of which, Roddy Doyle’s Two Pints, which began life as a series of dialogues on Facebook, and later found publication, has now become part play, part pub crawl. Written in that familiar rambling conversational style, Doyle’s play for two Dublin men has them meet for a drink and discuss everything from history, family and death to Nigella and North Korea.
Beginning this week in Dublin, it embarks on a nationwide tour of pubs, performed by Liam Carney and Lorcan Cranitch, and directed by Caitríona McLaughlin. An experiment that, in its own way, is every bit as bold as Gatsby, this is a fascinating change in emphasis for the Abbey Theatre, intimate and outward: if the nation does not come to the theatre, the theatre must go out to the nation.