The Suitcase Under the Bed
Short plays by Teresa Deevy
Directed by Jonathan Bank
July 21st through September 23rd
- Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pm
- Saturday & Sunday 2:00pm
- Wednesday 8/23, 9/6, 9/20 2:00pm
No performance 9/5.
Running time: 120 minutes, one intermission.
The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
(between 9th and 10th Ave)
The Suitcase under the Bed, so named for the place where all of Teresa Deevy’s writing was stored for decades, prior to the launch of Mint Theater Company’s “Deevy Project”, features four short plays, three of which will be the World Premieres. Deevy, thanks in part to the Mint, is now recognized as “One of Ireland’s best and most neglected dramatists.” (Irish Times)
“One of Ireland’s best and most neglected dramatists.” (Irish Times)
Another name for this evening of short plays might be “Three Proposals and a Break-up.” Each of Deevy’s four plays casts an unsentimental eye on the idea of marriage. One of the plays is even set against the backdrop of a wedding: “I was thinking of my marriage day when I was looking at them two, says Mrs. Marks in The King of Spain’s Daughter. “It is a thought would sadden anyone.”
Teresa Deevy had six plays produced by the Abbey Theatre between 1930 and 1936, and then the Abbey turned its back on her. Deevy’s next and perhaps best play (Wife to James Whelan) was rejected, effectively ending her career as an Abbey playwright. “I must just make an opening elsewhere,” she wrote to a friend, and then began to write for the radio—a remarkable turn of events, given that she was completely deaf. She lost her hearing due to an illness in her late teens and was never able to hear her beautifully-crafted dialogue spoken.
In 2010, Mint Theater Company re-introduced author Teresa Deevy to the world with our acclaimed production of Wife to James Whelan, the first of three full productions we gave this brilliant Irish woman. Deevy—a deaf playwright who turned to writing when her dreams of teaching were dashed after losing her hearing at the age of twenty—ended her career writing plays for the radio.
Mint has received worldwide recognition for our effort to restore Teresa Deevy to her proper place in the canon of Irish dramatic literature. Fintan O’Toole, one of Ireland’s leading public intellectuals and drama critics, acknowledged the importance of both Deevy and Mint’s exploration of her work in the pages of the Irish Times in 2013:
Deevy was the great white hope of the Abbey in the mid-1930s. Katie Roche was included alongside the staples of O’Casey and Synge on the Abbey’s tour of the US in 1937. And then she was simply dropped, suddenly and without explanation. Deevy’s next play, Holiday House, was accepted by the Abbey but then shelved, and she was never told why.
That breach has never been properly repaired. The Abbey has twice staged Katie Roche in recent decades… But there has been no coherent exploration of Deevy’s work as a whole by any Irish company. Instead, the Mint Theatre in New York, which specialises in rediscovering lost work, has engaged in what it calls the Teresa Deevy Project.
There are good reasons, both social and artistic, why Irish theatre should pay attention to this project.
This summer, Mint will resume our Teresa Deevy Project with The Suitcase Under the Bed, so named for the location where Deevy’s writing was stored for decades, prior to Mint’s Artistic Director Jonathan Bank’s arrival at the Deevy family home in Waterford in 2010.
Suitcase… will feature the world premiere of three plays: Holiday House, In the Cellar of My Friend, , and Strange Birth. The evening will also include Deevy’s best-known one-act, The King of Spain’s Daughter.
THE KING OF SPAIN’S DAUGHTER
“Annie Kinsella was born with romance in her soul,” the Irish Independent wrote when The King of Spain’s Daughter premiered at the Abbey in 1935. “To her, life was the splendid glowing vision of a poet…yet she lived among peasants who saw her romanticism as wildness and folly, and merely called her liar when the splendor of her imagination gave the semblance of reality to her dreams.”
“One of the best known and most highly esteemed of Teresa Deevy’s plays. And rightly so. For Annie Kinsella…is one of the author’s most striking creations.” (Irish Writing, 1948)
“Has in it all the subtlety and delicacy that are the fine hallmark of Miss Deevy’s work.” (Irish Press, 1952)
STRANGE BIRTH (World Premiere)
Sara Meade works at a small rooming house where she observes with determined detachment the heartache of each resident; a caution against falling in love herself. Suddenly the day’s post brings a letter that challenges her resolve.
This delicate, sweet play was published twice but has never been staged. A review in Irish Writing said it “shows the author in full mastery of her powers.”
HOLIDAY HOUSE (World Premiere)
It’s August at the seaside and the family is arriving for the summer holiday. Derrick expects to be the center of attention, the one thing they all have in common. There will be Doris to whom he was once engaged, Jil to whom he is now married, and his brother Neil, now married to Doris.
“Of course Mother takes it for granted always that people are happy, and that everyone loves seeing everyone else,—but they don’t, not always.”
IN THE CELLAR OF MY FRIEND (World Premiere)
Belle believes that she and Barney came to an understanding last night, but she arrives at his home this morning to a great surprise and a new understanding. A hint of mysticism adds to the mystery of this haunting play.
Sarah Nicole Deaver
- Directing Jonathan Bank
- Sets Vicki R. Davis
- Costumes Andrew Varga
- Lights Zach Blane
- Sound Jane Shaw
- Props Joshua Yocom
- Dialects & Dramaturgy Amy Stoller
- Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA
- Production Stage Manager Pamela Edington
- Stage Manager Jeff Meyers
- Production Manager Adam Gabel
- Asst Director Samuel-James DeMattio
- Illustration Stefano Imbert
- Graphics Hey Jude Design, Inc.
- Advertising The Pekoe Group
- Press David Gersten & Associates
Brunch with Jacqui Deevy
**Please note, the pre-show talk and brunch with Jacqui Deevy has changed dates. New date will be announced soon.
Brunch and pre-show talk with Jacqui Deevy before matinee performance of Suitcase
Jacqui is Teresa’s grandniece, literary executor and keeper of the flame – a role she inherited from her father. Jacqui grew up in Waterford, living in the Landscape, the Deevy family home for more than 125 years, where Teresa was born and lived. Jacqui will share her thoughts on the the plays included in The Suitcase Under the Bed and tell stories of the Deevy family.
When: TBD at noon
Where: West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42nd Street
Cost: $89.75 – includes brunch and matinee ticket
$40.00 – brunch only (call the number below to book)
Reserve by calling: 212.315.0231