Weekly Comment:
Dramatizing America’s Role
in the 1916 Easter Rising

Roger Casement (left) with John Devoy in New York.
Roger Casement (left) with John Devoy in New York.

By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
November 6, 2015

A one-time performance in New York later this month seeks to dramatize America’s role in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Often an overlooked aspect of the Rising, the voices of America, and Irish Americans were as varied and complex as in Ireland, with mixed results and effect. On November 18th, “Voices in America and the 1916 Easter Rising” brings them to the fore, weaving together proclamations, stories, and songs to dramatically explore and illuminate the America’s involvement in the Rising.

“Voices in America” is presented at the Sheen Center for Culture and Thought by New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House, the university’s center for Irish and Irish-American studies, and marks the 100th anniversary of the Rising to show the degree of American involvement in the months prior to the Rising in April, 1916.

The cast for “Voices in America and the 1916 Easter Rising” will bring to life some of the important personalities of the period, from Irish-born political leaders James Connolly, Padraic Pearse, and John Devoy to literary critic Mary Colum and humorist Finley Peter Dunne. Expect to hear from key organizations like the United Irish Women of New York and the Friends of Irish Freedom, as well as editorials from the Washington Post and The New York Times.

Celebrated singer Maxine Linehan, who recently became a YouTube sensation for her original version “Oh, Danny Boy” as an ode to Mets infielder Daniel Murphy, will perform contemporary songs that inform a narrative of the time, as will Irish tenor David O’Leary and singer-songwriter Seamus Galligan.

Actors in the production include Orlagh Cassidy (Drama Desk-nominee for the Irish Rep’s The Field; TV’s The Good Wife and Gotham; and last year’s film St. Vincent), David English (star of Tony Award-nominee Douglas Carter Beane’s Robin Hood: The Musical), Sean Gormley (numerous shows at the Irish Rep), Anna Nugent (recent winner of the 1st Irish theater festival’s Best Actress award), and Christopher Randolph (recently in King Lear on Broadway with Christopher Plummer).

The performance will be directed by George C. Heslin, founder and artistic director of Origin Theatre Company, which presents the annual, month-long 1st Irish theater festival.

“This one-time production focuses on freedom – what freedom meant for the Irish And, ultimately, what does freedom mean broadly, even globally? And what did it feel like living through the Easter Rising?” Heslin said.

“That’s what the audience will experience on November 18th.”

Speaking more conclusively of America’s role in the Rising, Glucksman Ireland House director Joe Lee put it briefly: “No New York, no America, no Easter Rising. Simple as that.”

The performance this month is one in a series of monthly Glucksman Ireland House NYU events focusing specifically on the essential role of America in the Easter 1916 Rising through music, poetry, prose, film, and an international academic symposium.

For the full list of events associated with the centenary of the Rising at Glucksman Ireland House, visit their website here.

Tickets for “Voices in America and the 1916 Easter Rising” are on sale online now via http://www.irelandhouse.fas.nyu.edu. ♦

_______________

What: “Voices of America and the 1916 Easter Rising”

Where: Sheen Center for Culture and Thought, New York, NY

When: 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students and members of Glucksman Ireland House.

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