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THE FATAL WEAKNESS, George Kelly’s last produced play, tells the story of Ollie Espenshade—an incurable romantic who discovers, after 28 years of marriage, that her husband is a lying cheat. It opened in New York on November 19, 1946 in a production starring Ina Claire. Although Claire’s triumphant return to Broadway after a five year absence garnered much of the press attention, Kelly’s play turned more than a few critics’ heads.
Admired for his character-driven satires and gimlet-eyed plays of modern manners, George Kelly (1887-1974) led a distinguished career in the New York theatre from the 1910s through the 1940s.
Mint Theater continued its exhaustive exploration into the work of Teresa Deevy—which began with WIFE TO JAMES WHELAN in 2010 and TEMPORAL POWERS in 2011—with a production of Deevy’s compelling drama, Katie Roche. The play’s mercurial heroine is a servant girl whose romantic ambitions reach for the heavens. “Katie Roche is the third Deevy work to be produced by the Mint in as many years. It may be the best one yet,” 1 wrote David Barbour in Lighting and Sound America.
Teresa Deevy was born in 1894 as the youngest of thirteen children in Waterford, Ireland. Though she intended to teach, Teresa contracted Meniere’s disease while at University College Dublin and lost her hearing. She went to London to study lip-reading and the theater provided her an opportunity to practice—there she discovered her calling.
Lennox Robinson’s IS LIFE WORTH LIVING? (aka DRAMA AT INISH) is a gloriously goofy comedy that imagines the impact a steady diet of serious drama might have on the amiable residents of a seaside town in Ireland. In 2009 the play was delivered to New York audiences for the first time in 75 years.
Robinson began to write poetry in his teens, vaguely dreaming of a career as a poet or musician. In 1907, when he was 20, he saw a touring production of the Abbey Theater. The performance changed his life. He was promptly inspired to write his first play, The Clancy Name, a realistic drama about a patrician Irish family willing to destroy itself so its good name can be preserved. The play was produced at the Abbey in 1908 and caught the attention of W.B. Yeats, who promptly hired Robinson, despite his youth and lack of experience, as the theater manager. Yeats felt that running a theater was the best education Robinson could have as a playwright.
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