The Suitcase Under the Bed
by Teresa Deevy
Four Short Plays. One Remarkable Evening
Directed by Jonathan Bank
July 21st 2017 through September 30th 2017
The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
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”, featured four short plays, three of which were World Premieres. Deevy, thanks in part to the Mint, is now recognized as “One of Ireland’s best and most neglected dramatists.” (Irish Times)
“Thank heaven for the unwavering commitment of Jonathan Bank, the theatrical archaeologist whose Mint Theater Company unearths long-forgotten plays and imbues them with new life. Perhaps his greatest discovery is Teresa Deevy. [Bank] clearly adores Deevy, and ultimately so will the audience.” 1
Another name for this evening of short plays might have been “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.
Suitcase… featured the world premiere of three plays: Holiday House, In the Cellar of My Friend, and Strange Birth. The evening also included Deevy’s best-known one-act, The King of Spain’s Daughter.
“Love unexpected, unachieved, lost, or bargained for is at the core of these sketches, but always with a mysterious, not so wry twist that reveals something deep in the Irish, and the human, character.”2
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 had never before been staged.
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.
HOLIDAY HOUSE (World Premiere)
It’s August at the seaside and the family is arriving for the summer holiday. Derek 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.
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.”
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Sarah Nicole Deaver
A.J. Shively / Niall Powderly
- Sets Vicki R. Davis
- Costumes Andrea Varga
- Lights Zach Blane
- Sound Jane Shaw
- Props Joshua Yocom
- Dialects & Dramaturgy Amy Stoller
- Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA
- Production Stage Manager Pamela Edington / Heather Arnson
- 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
Brunch and pre-show talk with Jacqui Deevy before matinee performance of SUITCASE. Attendees received a copy of “Teresa Deevy Reclaimed: Volume One” signed by Jacqui Deevy, Teresa’s grandniece, literary executor and keeper of the flame – a role she inherited from her father. Jacqui grew up in Waterford, living at Landscape, the Deevy family home for more than 125 years where Teresa was born and lived. Jacqui shared her thoughts on the the plays included in The Suitcase Under the Bed and told stories of the Deevy family.
Post Show Talk: Meet the Designers
Director Jonathan Bank and his design team discussed the process, the production and the four one-act plays.
POST SHOW TALK: EMILY C. BLOOM, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
JACQUI DEEVY, GRANDNIECE AND LITERARY EXECUTOR OF TERESA DEEVY
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 shared her thoughts on the the plays included in The Suitcase Under the Bed and told stories of the Deevy family.