Off-Broadway's Irish Rep launched the New York City premiere of the tale of a painful arranged marriage, set in rural Ireland, on Sept. 20 toward a Sept. 27 opening at the troupe's home at 132 West 22nd Street. (The original closing date was to be Nov. 11.)
The late John B. Keane also penned the acclaimed play The Field, which was adapted and directed for the screen by Jim Sheridan and starred Richard Harris.
"A rich and riveting drama, John B. Keane's Sive tells the tale of a beautiful young schoolgirl forced into an arranged marriage with a rich and lecherous old man," according to Irish Rep. "This hard hitting depiction of a sexually charged world was a scandalous affair when it was first seen in 1959. Against the backdrop of 1950s rural Ireland, the play is colorfully populated with traveling tinkers, bitter housewives and scheming matchmakers. From the same vivid and creative mind that penned The Field and The Matchmaker, Sive was Keane's first play and it introduced the country to a powerful theatrical voice that influenced a generation of Ireland's modern playwrights."
Sive — which rhymes with "five" — won the All-Ireland Drama Festival in 1959, and its enormous impact immediately made Keane's reputation. Sive opened Irish Rep's 20th season. The cast includes James Barry, Donie Carroll, Terry Donnelly, Patrick Fitzgerald, Christopher Joseph Jones, Aidan Redmond, Wrenn Schmidt, Mark Thornton and Fiana Toibin.
Set design is by Charles Corcoran, costume design is by Martha Hally, lighting design is by Jason Lyons, wig and hair design is by Robert-Charles Vallance. April Ann Kline is stage manager; Janice M. Brandine is assistant stage manager.
Keane wrote a series of best-selling works including "The Contractors," "The Bodhran Makers" and "Durango." Keane died on May 30, 2002.
Irish Rep's O'Reilly most recently directed Defender of the Faith; The Hairy Ape; The Field; Philadelphia, Here I Come!; and the Irish Rep original The Bells of Christmas.
Performances of Sive play Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees are Saturday, and Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets are $60 and $55 and can be purchased by calling The Irish Repertory Theatre box office at (212) 727-2737. For more information visit www.irishrep.org.