from the Footlights


NOVEMber 2007                                          “Life shouldn’t be all work and no plays.     




Irish Theatre and McPherson’s Shining City on November 13 at Footlights


Irish theatre (home of such literary giants and Nobel winners as Yeats, Shaw, and Beckett) will be explored in general by Footlights speakers  Linda ni Mhuireadhaigh, Artistic Director at Solas Nua as well as examined in particular by Danielle Mages Amato, Literary Manager and Dramaturg, who will discuss Studio Theatre’s upcoming production of Footlights’ November play, Shining City by Conor McPherson.  Robin Larkin will moderate.


Shining City is described as “A remarkable meditation on regret, guilt and confusion.”  The play is set entirely within the Dublin office of a psychiatrist who is full of his own psychological secrets.  Much of the play involves monologues, a technique which McPherson is said to prefer because of the intimacy of the character confiding directly with you, the audience.  Yet, it is a play where even the ghost struggles for words.


NY Times theatre critic, Ben Brantley, reviewing a recent production considered Shining City a study of loneliness in a crowd:  “There are never more than two people together at a time in Shining CityYet the stage feels as crowded and as solitary as a big-city subway at rush hour — dense with urban lives rubbing against one another while never making contact. To exist is to be alone in Mr. McPherson's Dublin, but it is also to be painfully aware of the countless other lives that touch upon yours. Touching upon, of course, is not the same as actually touching.”


Footlights has discussed another of McPherson’s plays, The Weir, which we saw at the former Round House facility. Now we have an opportunity to explore his recent play, Shining City, within the context of Irish theatre in general.


Nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play 2006, Shining City was originally produced at London’s Royal Court Theatre in June 2004, moving to Dublin’s Gate Theatre in September 2004 and the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2006.


We meet at Alfio=s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD, two blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro. Dinner is $12 (includes tip) with several choices of entrées, as well as salad, bread, ice cream & coffee.  Come early if you can but please arrive by 6:15 p.m. to allow sufficient time to get all the entrée orders in to the waiter.  The discussion begins at 7:30 p.m.


Contact Mark Gruenberg to reserve for dinner, 202-898-4825 or [email protected].  If you later find you must cancel your dinner reservation, please let Mark know by noon on Tuesday, November 13 so we can give an accurate count of dinner reservations to the restaurant.


Reading Shining City:  Shining City by Conor McPherson can be obtained at Backstage Books (202-544-5744), 545 8th St. SE, Washington, DC (Eastern Market blue line metro stop).  Before going to pick up a copy of the play, call first to make sure copies of the play are still in stock.

Shining City at Studio Theatre:   On Sunday, November 18 at 2 p.m., Footlights will be attending the Studio Theatre production of Shining City.  There will be a cast discussion after the play.  Tickets are $40.  Send your check, payable to FOOTLIGHTS, to Robin Larkin, at her new address 5800 Nicholson Lane, Apt L07, Rockville, MD 20852.  A limited number of tickets are still available. Please check with Robin (240-669-6300 or   [email protected]).


Support FootlightsPlease support Footlights, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Send your tax-deductible contributions to Footlights, c/o Robin Larkin, 5800 Nicholson Lane, Apt. L07, Rockville, MD 20852.


Footlights Discussion December 18Footlights will discuss Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth on December 18.  Our guests will be Rahaleh Nassri, the director, and Scott McCormick, one of the leads in the play.  Jerry Stilkind will moderate.


Before opening on Broadway in 1942, The Skin of Our Teeth, held one of its trial runs in Baltimore, Maryland The Skin of Our Teeth, considered one of Thornton Wilder’s greatest plays, is said to celebrate “humanity’s resilience, inventiveness, and will to survive.”


This play gave Wilder his second Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1943 - - a time when the U.S. (and Great Britain) had just come through the Great Depression and less than a year after Pearl Harbor and the Nazi conquest of almost all of Europe, when democracy would be lucky if it came through by the skin of its teeth.


Footlights Newsletter Going Electronic:   With people relying more  on the web and less on postal mail, Footlights has decided to rely more on distributing the Newletter through the Listserve on the internet.  Footlights members who prefer to continue to receive hard copies of the Newsletter through the postal mail are asked to drop a note to that effect to Beatrice Rouse, P.O. Box 5443, Rockville, MD 20848.  If we don’t hear from you by the end of the year, December will be the last Newsletter you will receive through the postal mail.  We will continue to send the Newsletter by email.




          Tuesday, November 13 - - Please arrive by 6:15 p.m. for dinner discussion of Conor McPherson’s Shining City at Alfio’s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD.


          Sunday, November 18, 2 p.m. - - Performance of Shining City at Studio Theatre.  Tickets are $40; includes postshow discussion.


          Tuesday, December 18 - - Please arrive by 6:15 p.m. for dinner discussion of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. at Alfio’s, in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD.


          Date to be announced - - Performance of The Skin of Our Teeth at Rorschach Theatre includes post show discussion.



Dinner-discussion reservations: Reserve with Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or [email protected].


Theater tickets:  Robin Larkin, 240-669-6300 or [email protected]. Make check payable to Footlights. Send to Robin Larkin at her new address: 5800 Nicholson Lane, Apt. L07, Rockville, MD 20852.