Wrenn Schmidt Will Play Katie Roche in Rare NYC Production of Teresa Deevy Play
By Kenneth Jones
Off-Broadway's Mint Theater Company, which discovers forgotten plays about the beginning of modern life and holds them up to the light, announced casting for the first-ever resident American production of Irish writer Teresa Deevy's Katie Roche, a 1936 play about a servant girl of uncertain parentage.
Artistic director Jonathan Bank will direct the revival for a Jan. 26-March 24, 2013, run at the Mint's intimate home at 311 W. 43rd Street. Opening night is Feb. 25.
The title role will be played by Wrenn Schmidt, who plays Julia Sagorsky in Season 3 of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." The cast will also feature Margaret Daly, Jon Fletcher, David Friedlander, Thomas M. Hammond, Jamie Jackson, John O'Creagh and Fiana Toibin.
Katie Roche is the final production of Mint's three-year project dedicated to Deevy. Mint Theater Company has revived her name with its 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 creative team includes set designer Vicki R. Davis, costume designer Martha Hally, lighting designer Nicole Pearce, sound designer Jane Shaw and prop designer Joshua Yocum.
According to Mint Theater, "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 U.S. tour in 1937 and in 1938 it was produced in London. 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."
Katie Roche was revived by the Abbey in 1949, 1975 and 1994 — each time to critical acclaim.
According to Mint notes, Deevy was born in 1894 as the youngest of 13 children in Waterford, Ireland. Though she intended to teach, she contracted Meniere's disease while at University College Dublin and lost her hearing. She went to London to study lip-reading and the theatre provided her an opportunity to practice — there she discovered her calling. Despite obstacles and years of rejection, she eventually became a celebrated playwright. She had six plays produced at Ireland's national theater — the Abbey — between 1930 and 1936.
Performances will be Tuesday through Thursday at 7 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $55. There will be special added matinees Feb. 20 and March 20 at 2 PM.
There will be no performances on Jan. 27, Feb. 23 (no matinee), Feb. 26 or March 19.
All performances will take place on the Third Floor of 311 W. 43rd Street. Tickets are available by calling the Mint box office toll-free at (866) 811-4111 or by visiting minttheater.com.
In February, Mint will release Volume Two of "Teresa Deevy Reclaimed," which will feature 12 short plays, many of which have never been published. On Feb. 23, Mint will read two of these short plays, followed by a discussion with Professor Christopher Morash, Head of the Department of English at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. There will be a lunch with Morash before the readings and a dinner after, with several members of the Deevy family.
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