Citing string box office sales, the Irish Repertory Theatre added three weeks of performances to its run of Brendan Behan’s 1958 play, The Hostage. Those three weeks have come and gone, however, and the show will close Dec. 31. The Hostage began previews Oct. 20 and opened Off-Broadway on Oct. 29.
Irish Rep's artistic director, Charlotte Moore helms the show, which stars Ciarán Sheehan (Phantom of the Opera, The Irish and How They Got That Way) as well as Irish Rep producing director Ciarán O’Reilly.
Also heading the cast are Terry Donnelly, Jacqueline Kealy, Johnnie McConnell, Barry McNabb, Fidelma Murphy, Anto Nolan, John O’Callaghan, Denis O’Neill, Derdriu Ring, Erik Singer, James A. Stephens, Steven Xavier Ward and Elizabeth Whyte.
Behan’s darkly satiric comedy is set in a Dublin lodging house, where a British soldier is being held captive by a former IRA Commander; the IRA man threatens violent retaliation if the British conduct the planned execution of an Irish youth.
The creative team comprises scenic designer and Tony Award winner Eugene Lee, costume designer Linda Fisher, lighting designer Gregory Cohen and musical director Mark Hartman. Behan was born in Dublin on February 9, 1923, and left school a 13 to join the Irish Republican Army. Throughout the forties he spent a great deal of time in reform school and prison. Incarcerated for 18 months after a conviction for carrying explosives in 1939 in Liverpool, Behan began writing in prison. Later sentenced to 14 years for shooting at a policeman, Behan's prison observations came to be developed as The Quare Fellow, a play chronicling the hours preceding a hanging that was produced first by the Pike Theatre in Dublin and subsequently in London. Earthy dialogue and trenchant humor are Behan's trademark as seen in his prose works, Borstal Boy (1958), an account of his term in the boys reform school; Brendan Behan's Island (1962), a collection of Irish anecdotes; Hold Your Hour and Have Another (1964), The Scarperer (1964) and Confessions of an Irish Rebel (1965). Behan died on March 20, 1964, in Dublin of diabetes and alcohol abuse. Tickets are $40 and $35 at The Irish Repertory Theatre box office, 132 W. 22 St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. For tickets, visit www.irishrepertorytheatre.com.
—By Robert Simonson
and Murdoch McBride