Spring will be sprung (loose) when Inis Nua Theatre Company presents Penelope by Enda Walsh at the Prince Music Theater (1412 Chestnut Street). This dark comedy takes us into the world of Homer’s The Odyssey by the back door, or maybe it’s a trap door, as we fall into a part of the story that’s never been told before. Penelope awaits the return of her husband, Odysseus, from the Trojan war. Four suitors are locked in a do-or-die competition to win her love at a barbecue unlike any you have ever seen. Will the great warrior return and slay his rivals, or will one of these self-proclaimed poets convince her to turn to a new love?
Penelope opens on Friday, April 10 at 8:00pm, with previews on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 at 7:00pm. Penelope runs for a total of 16 performances, through April 26, 2015. Tickets are on sale for $25 and $30 by calling (215) 454-9776 or visiting inisnuatheatre.org.
Inis Nua Artistic Director Tom Reing has an ongoing fascination with Ireland’s Enda Walsh, as this will be the third Walsh play he has presented to Philadelphia. Like Bedbound and The Walworth Farce, Penelope’s action exists within a fantastical realism that is a Walsh hallmark.
In Penelope, four absurd men are holding daily vigil at the bottom of an empty swimming pool. These are the last of the one hundred suitors of Penelope, who has waited years for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan Wars. The stakes are high as they all make one final desperate pitch for her affection. Penelope continues Inis Nua’s season musings on deception, authenticity and the search for identity. Each man must invent himself anew every day to be the one Penelope may want. Let the games begin.
Penelope earned the 2010 Fringe First Award at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Walsh has an intense, love-hate relationship with words... and the gorgeous, outlandish sentences and speeches he weaves seem to self-destruct even as they are spoken.” That these words also push forward an amazing and well-told story brings Reing back to Enda Walsh again and again. “I think of Walsh as being the torchbearer of Beckett," said Reing. "His use of language and the fantastic theatrical setting make him the logical heir. And his characters are stuck in their worlds, waiting for something to change. That’s Beckett’s legacy all over.”
The Philadelphia premiere of Penelope is directed by Reing and stars Adair Arciero in the title role (Ophelia in Hamlet with Rev Theatre Company, Mary in The Life with 11th Hour Theatre Company), John Morrison (Five Kings by Revolution Shakespeare, Ciphers by Inis Nua) as Fitz, Leonard Haas (The Little Prince by New Victory Theatre, Hamlet by Bristol Riverside Theatre) as Dunne, Griffin Stanton-Ameisen (the curious case of the Watson Intelligence by Azuka, Macbeth by Revolution Shakespeare) as Burns and Jared Michael Delaney (Trousers by Inis Nua, The Glass Menagerie by Walnut Street Theatre) as Quinn. The show’s honorary producer is Louis Bluver.
Walsh’s swimming pool crucible will be conceived by Meghan Jones (set), Shon Causer (lighting) and Nick Kortides (sound), with costumes by Maggie Baker, and props by Annie Heath. Katie Ringwood is the Stage Manager and, because it wouldn’t be an Enda Walsh play without a few fights, Fight Choreographer Alex Cordaro helps keep it safe.
Penelope opens at Prince Music Theater (1412 Chestnut Street) on Friday, April 10 at 8:00pm, with previews on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 at 7:00pm. Penelope runs for a total of 16 performances, through April 26, 2015.
Tickets are on sale for $25 and $30 by calling (215) 454-9776 or visiting www.inisnuatheatre.org. For more information, and to join the conversation, please like Inis Nua Theatre Company on Facebook and follow @InisNuaTheatre on Twitter.
ABOUT INIS NUA THEATRE COMPANY
Inis Nua’s mission is to produce contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales which reflect those cultures’ new identities in today’s world. Inis Nua also seeks to cultivate and produce contemporary, provocative work from American playwrights who deal with the Irish-American, Welsh-American, Scottish-American and Anglo-American experiences.
To date, Inis Nua has produced one world premiere, nine American premieres and eleven Philadelphia premieres. Inis Nua Theatre Company has been the recipient of grants from the Wyncote Foundation, the Independence Foundation, the Fels Fund, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Charlotte Cushman Foundation. Inis Nua Theatre has also had seven playwrights visit during production of their shows.