LIMERICK theatre company Bottom Dog are gearing up to bring renowned production, Language UnBecoming a Lady, to New York later this year.
The play, starring and written by local actor Myles Breen, was first performed in 2009 as part of Limerick Pride, and will now be exposed to an international audience at Origin’s First Irish Theatre Festival.
Writer and actor Myles Breen said he was proud that his work is making it to New York, though he explained that significant funding is needed to ensure that the production heads overseas.
On Thursday, August 27, a special fundraising gala night will take place at the Lime Tree Theatre, where the New York-bound show will be staged. According to the actor, there will be a “world premiere” cabaret afterwards at Dolan’s.
According to Bottom Dog, who launched the event last week, this will help cover the costs of bringing the show to the festival.
“Unfortunately, to bring a play abroad it does cost money. But we have been incredibly lucky with the support over the years and with our audiences, so we are asking them once more to again support us,” said Breen.
“I think this play, which is one gay man’s story from early days accepting sexuality and is about his life, his loves, his failures, also reflects how Ireland has changed dramatically in one person’s life and their attitudes to sexuality.
“On top of that, we have an after show cabaret in Dolan’s Warehouse, who are also helping us, and that will be the Divine Diana Show, which is mentioned in the play, so you actually get to see it, so it will be a world premiere of the Divine Diana cabaret.
“So you get two shows for the price of one. When you hear about the character becoming the Divine Diana, you then get to see the Divine Diana in her full swing,” he added.
Limerickman George Heslin, who runs Origin Theatre Company which oversees the festival, said that he was “delighted” to bring the Limerick play to the Big Apple.
“This is a month-long festival that takes place in ten theatres across the city, and in the seven years of the festival, we have presented the work of over 107 Irish playwrights. During that time, we have created links with Ireland and America, and every year, we bring two to three theatre companies from Ireland,” he explained.
“This year, we are bringing Fishamble from Dublin, and for the first time ever, we are delighted to have a Limerick theatre company as part of the festival,” he added.
Bottom Dog Theatre’s artistic director Liam O’Brien said the New York drive was an “incredible” opportunity for Limerick’s theatre scene.
“There’s such an amazing theatrical scene here, especially in the wake of City of Culture, where so many professional artists were resourced to produce work,” he said.
“We want the momentum not to stop and keep working. To be able to take work like this to the international stage in New York, a renowned city for theatre, is such a great opportunity and I am really excited about it.”
Though Mr O’Brien noted the financial barriers that would typically prevent a small production heading to the big stage across the Atlantic, he said he hoped the Lime Tree Theatre performance would help to “allay the cost” of the trip.
“I think for anything like this, you are fighting for publicity, you are fighting for the costs, as there are extensive costs, and you have a financial battle, which is why we are running this benefit in Mary I in August to allay the costs of that,” he said.
“But the Irish have always had a place of pride in New York. We are so respected and liked and there is always an Irish person on Broadway, but to think that a small theatre company from Limerick that isn’t resourced or funded can take a really potent piece of work to New York is a huge opportunity,” he said.
Metropolitan Mayor Jerry O’Dea and Limerick city and county arts officer Sheila Deegan commended Bottom Dog Theatre and all involved in the production for their endeavour.