The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents DruidMurphy October 17–20, 2012 in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Told through three of the greatest plays by Tom Murphy including Conversations on a Homecoming on October 19 & 20, A Whistle in the Dark on October 18 & 20, and Famine on October 17 & 20, DruidMurphy is a major celebration of one of Ireland's most respected living dramatists. Directed by Garry Hynes, the DruidMurphy experience allows audience members to see each play individually or the full three-play cycle in one day. DruidMurphy is part of the etcetera! series.
The three plays of DruidMurphy tell the story of Irish emigration; a story both of those who went and those who were left behind. Crossing oceans and spanning decades, DruidMurphy covers the period from the Great Hunger of the 19th century to the 'new' Ireland of the 1970s, exploring what we mean when we call a place home. DruidMurphy has toured Ireland, England, and the United States since May 2012. The Kennedy Center engagement concludes the tour of DruidMurphy.
Based in the 1970s in County Galway, West of Ireland, Conversations on a Homecoming is about a man named Michael and his return to his home town after a ten-year absence. Upon his sudden return from New York working as an actor, Michael has a reunion with old friends in the familiar pub called "The White House." Over a long drinking session, the friends are faced with the changes the years have wrought and begin a process of self-discovery.
Set in 1960, A Whistle in the Dark tells the story of Michael Carney, an Irish emigrant living in Coventry, England and his wife, Betty. Michael has given lodgings to three of his brothers. The imminent arrival of his father and younger brother cause tensions in the family to boil over.
Famine is set in County Mayo, Glanconnor village, West of Ireland in 1846. When the second crop of potatoes fails, the community faces the real prospect of starvation. John Connor, head of the family, leader of the village, son of glorious forefathers, is surrounded by starvation and poverty. He will do the right thing-by himself, by God, and by his family.
The cast for the three plays includes Niall Buggy, Edward Clayton, Beth Cooke, Brian Doherty, Gavin Drea, Garrett Lombard, Aaron Monaghan, Marie Mullen, Michael Glenn Murphy, Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, Rory Nolan, John Olohan, Frank O'Sullivan, Isaac O'Sullivan, Marty Rea, and Eileen Walsh.
The creative team includes Francis O'Connor as associate director of design and David Bolger as associate director of movement with costume design by Joan O'Clery, lighting design by Chris Davey, sound design by Gregory Clarke, music by Sam Jackson, dramaturgy by Thomas Conway, and casting direction by Maureen Hughes.
Tom Murphy (playwright) was born in Tuam, Co. Galway, and he continues to have a deep attachment to the place of his birth. At the age of 24, he wrote his first play, On the Outside, in collaboration with his great friend Noel O'Donoghue. The following year, aged 25, he completed his first full-length play, which under the original title, The Iron Men, won a number of Irish national playwriting awards. In 1961, it was produced as A Whistle in the Dark at the Theatre Royal in Stratford East, London, one of the most momentous premieres in British Theatre in the 1960s. This production later transferred to the West End. His next plays were produced at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin and included Famine, A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer's Assistant, and The Morning after Optimism. Two of his most controversial and highly regarded plays were to follow in the late 70s and early 80s, The Sanctuary Lamp and The Gigli Concert. In 1984, he formed an association with Druid that began with the productions Famine and On the Outside. These were a prelude to the landmark Druid productions of the mid-80s, Conversations on a Homecoming, Bailegangaire and, in a co-production with The Abbey Theatre, A Whistle in the Dark. These productions were widely acclaimed both at home and internationally and saw Druid work with some of the great Irish actors of our time, including Siobhán McKenna and Godfrey Quigley. Murphy's plays have since premiered at The Abbey Theatre, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Royal Court in London. These include The Last Days of the Reluctant Tyrant, Too Late for Logic, The Patriot Game, The Wake, The House, and Alice Trilogy. His plays have been produced throughout the world including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Hungary, and Portugal. He also directs his own work and in recent years has directed celebrated productions of Bailegangaire, Alice Trilogy, and The Sanctuary Lamp.
Garry Hynes (director) founded Druid in 1975 and has worked as its Artistic Director from 1975 to 1991, and from 1995 to date. From 1991 to 1994, she was Artistic Director of The Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Garry has also worked with the Abbey and Gate Theatres (Ireland) and internationally with The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Royal Court (UK), with Second Stage, Signature Theater, and Manhattan Theater Club in New York and with the Kennedy Center. Awards include: The Joe A. Callaway Award (New York) for Outstanding Directing for The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh (2009); Honorary Doctorates from the University College Dublin (2011), University of Dublin (2004), the National University of Ireland (1998), and the National Council for Education Awards (1988); and a Tony Award® for Direction for The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1998). She is a recipient of many other theater awards, including the Irish Times/ESB Irish Theatre Award for Best Director and a Special Tribute Award for her contribution to Irish Theatre (2005). In January 2011, Garry was appointed Adjunct Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway.
Druid was founded by graduates of the National University of Ireland, Galway, Garry Hynes, Mick Lally, and Marie Mullen and has had two artistic directors: Garry Hynes (1975–91 and 1995 to date) and Maeliosa Stafford (1991–94). Productions include: The Silver Tassie (Galway, Irish tour & UK); The Gigli Concert (Galway Arts Festival & Irish tour); The Walworth Farce (World tour); The New Electric Ballroom; The Cripple of Inishmaan (Irish & UK tour and Atlantic Theater, New York); Long Day's Journey into Night (Galway and Dublin Theatre Festival); Leaves (Galway and Royal Court Theatre, London); Empress of India (Galway and Dublin Theatre Festival); The Year of the Hiker (Galway and Irish tour); DruidSynge (Galway Arts Festival, Dublin, Edinburgh International Festival, Inis Meáin; Minneapolis, Lincoln Center Festival New York); Sharon's Grave; Sive; On Raftery's Hill; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; The Leenane Trilogy (Royal Court co-productions); Lovers' Meeting; Conversations on a Homecoming; Bailegangaire; The Shaughraun; The Wood of the Whispering. Druid productions have won more than 50 awards in Ireland and internationally including four Tony Awards® for The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Druid has performed previously at the Kennedy Center with The Shadow of the Glen and The Playboy of the Western World in October 2008 and most recently with The Cripple of Inishmaan in February 2011.
DruidMurphy is presented in a co-production with Quinnipiac University Connecticut, NUI Galway, Lincoln Center Festival, and Galway Arts Festival.