KATIE ROCHE Opens Tonight at the Mint Theater
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by BWW News Desk
Mint Theater (Jonathan Bank, Artistic Director) will extend the first-ever American Production of Katie Roche by Teresa Deevy until March 31st at their home (311 West 43rd Street). Opening Night is tonight, Monday, February 25th.
Katie Roche is the latest production of Mint's ambitious three-year project dedicated to the brilliant Teresa Deevy. Mint Theater Company has single-handedly put Deevy back onto the literary map with their acclaimed productions of Wife To James Whelan in 2010 and Temporal Powers in 2011. Katie Roche and the Deevy Project are supported in part by a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The title role is played by Wrenn Schmidt who currently appears as Julia Sagorsky opposite Jack Huston and Mark Borkowski in Season 3 of HBO's Emmy-nominated "Boardwalk Empire." Following Katie Roche, Wrenn will join Emmy Award-winner John Turturro in Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder at Brooklyn Academy Of Music, directed by Andrei Belgrader.
"Masterpiece is a word to be used sparingly, but I have no hesitation in applying it to Miss Deevy's Katie Roche. Imagine a play in which the really eloquent and revealing things are the sentences The Players do not say; a play in which words become almost unimportant and situation everything; a play of fantastic irony, of vital convincing characters, of superb craftsmanship. That is Katie Roche." So said The Irish Independent in 1936.
Katie is a servant girl of uncertain parentage. She is wild with ambition and dreams of finding something great to do. Teresa Deevy's drama takes you on Katie's journey as she struggles to find herself and her destiny. Originally produced by Ireland's Abbey Theatre in 1936, Katie Roche was included in the Gollancz Anthology of "Famous Plays of 1936" ("even though it cannot yet be called famous," wrote the editor in a preface) along with Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing. The Abbey chose Katie Roche to kick off their US tour in 1937 and in 1938 it was produced in London.
Even those who praised the play most enthusiastically had difficulty describing it. The critic for the London Times acknowledged: "It is almost impossible to give an idea of the quality of this really fine play." The Independent critic had no hesitation in calling the play a "masterpiece," neither did he hesitate to "admit frankly that I do not appreciate it fully at the moment. It is a play to be read, to be studied, to be seen again and again."
Teresa Deevy was born in 1894 as the youngest of thirteen children in Waterford, Ireland. Though she intended to teach, Teresa contracted Meniere's disease while at University College Dublin and lost her hearing. She went to London to study lip-reading and the theater provided her an opportunity to practice-there she discovered her calling. Despite obvious obstacles and years of rejection, Teresa eventually became a celebrated playwright. She had six plays produced at Ireland's National Theater, the Abbey, between the years 1930 and 1936. It was Katie Roche that solidified her place as Ireland's most important female dramatist since Lady Gregory. A servant girl whose mercurial ambitions reach for the heavens, Deevy's remarkable heroine introduced a study of feminine power with unprecedented subtlety and depth.
"The Mint does for forgotten drama what the Encores! series does for musicals, on far more modest means" (The New York Times). The Mint was awarded an OBIE for "combining the excitement of discovery with the richness of tradition," and a special Drama Desk Award for "unearthing, presenting and preserving forgotten plays of merit." Ben Brantley, in The New York Times Arts & Leisure hailed the Mint as the "resurrectionist extraordinaire of forgotten plays." It was recently nominated for the prestigious Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival for A Little Journey.
Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $55. Special added Matinee Wednesday March 20th at 2pm. There will be no performance on March 19th. All performances take place on the Third Floor of 311 West 43rd Street. Tickets are available by calling the Mint box office toll-free at 866-811-4111 or go to the Mint website, where you can also see video and more!