Kingfishers Catch Fire, by Irish playwright Robin Glendinning, begins previews September 11 at the Irish Rep. The new play is based on the true story of a monsignor who used the cover of the Vatican to save Jewish civilians in Italy, and the infamous Nazi who put a bounty on his head.
Directed by Kent Paul (Lost in Yonkers), Kingfishers Catch Fire will play a limited run in Irish Rep's W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre September 11–October 20. Opening night is set for September 22. Sean Gormley (Rebel in the Soul) stars as Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty and Haskell King (Please Continue) as Herbert Kappler.
In Kingfishers Catch Fire, it’s 1948 when Monsignor O’Flaherty first visits Kappler in the Italian prison where he is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. During World War II, the men were adversaries; Kappler was the head of the Gestapo in German-occupied Rome, and Monsignor O’Flaherty was using the cover of Vatican neutrality to shelter and arrange for the escape of thousands of Allied servicemen and Jewish civilians. Kappler placed a bounty on O’Flaherty’s head, but O’Flaherty evaded capture, earning the nickname The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican.
Based on a true story, the new play examines morality and personal culpability for actions taken during a devastating war.
Kingfishers Catch Fire will feature set design by Edward Morris, costume design by Linda Fisher, lighting design by Matthew McCarthy, and sound design by Rob Rees.