PHILADELPHIA – Lantern Theater Company continues its 2010/11 season with the Philadelphia premiere of A Skull in Connemara (Jan. 13 – Feb. 6, 2011) by acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. Co-directed by M. Craig Getting and the Lantern’s Associate Artistic Director Kathryn MacMillan, A Skull in Connemara continues the Lantern’s longstanding tradition of bringing Irish and English works to life on the stage and is part of the Philadelphia Irish Theatre Festival, which will feature three plays written by McDonagh.
Leenane is a small Irish town with a small Catholic cemetery – too small. Widower Mick Dowd is hired each fall to disinter old bones to make room for the freshly departed, and this year’s crop threatens to bring to the surface the long hidden secrets of the living. McDonagh, beloved for the gleeful madness of the 2007 Lantern hit The Lonesome West and the Oscar-nominated film In Bruges, is the mind behind this raucous and unsettling comedy about death and dirt.
A storyteller in the Irish tradition, Martin McDonagh was born to Irish expatriates, growing up in London but spending summers in Ireland. At the age of 27 McDonagh became the first playwright since Shakespeare to have four plays running simultaneously in London’s West End, and in 2006 he won the Academy Award® for his short film Six Shooter. In 2008 he wrote his first full-length feature film, In Bruges, for which he received the BAFTA Award for Original Screenplay and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His plays include the OBIE and Olivier Award-winning The Lieutenant of Inishmore, the Drama Desk Award-winning The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Cripple of Inishmaan, and The Lonesome West, which the Lantern produced in its 2007/08 season.
As co-directors, M. Craig Getting and Kathryn MacMillan are not only collaborating on the concept and vision of the production, they’re also tackling the technical challenges of the play, which require the creation of over 100 skeletons for rehearsals and performances.
Getting, a young director at age 24, has developed his skills as Assistant Director on several Lantern productions. “Over 17 seasons, the Lantern has been a point of entry for many talented theater artists in the region,” says MacMillan. “Part of our mission is to support artists we believe in and help them grow – an opportunity the company offered to me early in my career. We like to keep bringing fresh perspectives to our theater and mixing that with the perspectives of highly experienced theater artists.”
A Skull in Connemarabegins previews on January 13, opens on January 19 (press night, 7:00 p.m.), and closes on February 6, 2011. [A full performance schedule follows in the fact sheet below.] Tickets are $20-$36 and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. $10 student rush tickets are available 10 minutes before curtain with valid ID; cash only. Additional discounts are available for seniors and groups of 10 or more. Lantern Theater Company is located at St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th & Ludlow Streets in Philadelphia.
Cast & Production Team
The cast features an impressive ensemble of local actors, including Stephen Novelli as Mick, Jake Blouch as Mairtin, and Jered McLenigan as Thomas. Novelli is a long-time company member of The People’s Light & Theatre Company, whose recent credits include Voltaire in Legacy of Light and Most Ancient in Gossamer. Blouch was recently seen in Flashpoint Theatre Company’s Run, Mourner, Run. McLenigan appeared last season at the Lantern in Henry IV, Part I and was most recently seen in Theatre Exile’s That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play. In the role of Maryjohnny is Ellen Mulroney who in recent years has been seen performing Year of the Woman, the dramatic monologue on America’s first Congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin.
The creative team includes set designer Dirk Durossette (2008 Barrymore nomination for Skylight at the Lantern; other Lantern credits include The Breath of Life, Hamlet, and QED), costume designer Natalia de la Torre who is designing at the Lantern for the first time and also serves as costume shop manager, lighting designer Shon Causer (2009/10’s Scapin at the Lantern), and sound designer Larry D. Fowler, Jr. (The Screwtape Letters at the Lantern).
Philadelphia Irish Theatre Festival
A Skull in Connemarais part of the Philadelphia Irish Theatre Festival and Irish MixTix. During the Festival, six Philadelphia-area theater companies are presenting works by Irish playwrights between December 2010 and May 2011. With the Irish MixTix - available only at http://mixtix.phillytheatretix.com - patrons can order tickets to two or more plays and save 20% OFF the ticket prices listed.
Lantern Theater Company will continue its 2010/11 season with A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (March 10 – April 10, 2011) and Vigil by Morris Panych (May 19 – June 12, 2011).
Lantern Theater Company thanks its 2010/11 season corporate partners at Marathon Grill, La Fourno Ristorante Trattoria, and Dunkin’ Donuts, and its community partners at St. Stephen’s Church.