The other evening I was thrilled to be attending an immersive theater experience of Joyce’s Novella The Dead at The Irish Historical Society. The Irish Historical Society is non-partisan and non-sectarian Society and is located at 991 Fifth Avenue. The Society hosted this play for The Irish Repertory Theatre and it was an extremely enchanting and very divine experience, indeed-
So first go up this grand staircase into the drawing room of the mansion where you join 2 elderly Irish music teachers Kate and Julia Morkan and their niece Mary Jane. The women are hosting their annual Feast of Epiphany in 1904 in Dublin. Their guests arrive in and in time you meet a whole array of characters.
Among the guests are Gabriel Conroy (Rufus Collins), a teacher and nephew to Kate and Julia; his wife Gretta (Melissa Gilbert); Bartell D’Arcy (John Treacy Egan), a rather renowned tenor, who is currently “as hoarse as a crow”; Mr. Brown (Peter Cormican), a Protestant in a field of Catholics; feminist Molly Ivors (Aedin Moloney); and Freddy Malins (James Russell), a friend of Gabriel’s and a drunkard, despite having recently “taken the pledge” at the insistence of his mother (Terry Donnelly).
So after we meet all these characters being just a few feet away from the actors we’re ushered into the main dining room where we’re seated (and Yeah!!! I got to sit at The Actor’s (Character’s Table)-What an incredible experience!!!) and had a sumptuous meal which ended with figs and very yummy Bread Pudding.
Then after the meal ghosts begin to unravel that reveal dark places in some of the characters’ pasts and you then get to follow one couple up the winding staircase to their bed chamber where they will spend the night.
It is here that the wife (played by Melissa Gilbert) reveals a long held secret of her past and her marriage is forever changed because of it.
Just completely mesmerizing acting and real time staging will always live as a memorable experience for me…
Just a complete theatrical joy.