Arlington - a new play by ENDA WALSH

Dates announced at St Ann’s Warehouse

Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival are delighted to announce that Arlington by Enda Walsh will have its New York premiere at St Ann’s Warehouse in May of next year.

The production, written and directed by Enda Walsh and choreographed by Emma Martin, will play a four-week season at the prestigious New York theatre.  Starring Charlie Murphy, Hugh O’Conor and Oona Doherty, the production also features the voices of Olwen Fouéré, Helen Norton and Stephen Rea. 

Among the highlights of St. Ann’s Warehouse 2016/17 Season are the Donmar Warehouse production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest directed by Phyllida Lloyd; Kneehigh’s 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo and Emma Rice who also directs; a new play by Daniel Kitson Mouse – The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought; and the epic A 24-Decade History of Popular Music by the avant-garde New York performance artist Taylor Mac which opens the season.

Arlington will run from 3 – 28 May 2017.  www.stannswarehouse.org.

Review – Sunday Business Post

★★★★      ‘a more openly avant-garde piece than some of [Walsh’s] previous creations … Isla (winningly played by Charlie Murphy) … a gorgeous sequence from dancer Oona Doherty … Doherty delivers a compelling set-piece … powerful … Arlington  has humour, but it’s grounded in a deep sadness, a kind of grief and struggle for acceptance about the way life is.  At times, it seems less like a play than a hybrid work of abstract  art … You may leave not knowing everything about what it’s about, but still feel deeply absorbed in its tensions and jagged rhythms, its palpable, heart-throbbing sense of isolation.  As a mood-piece, it’s an intriguing and rewarding drama’

Written by Nadine O’Regan for the Sunday Business Post 17.07.16 –  Read the full review here

Review – The Guardian

★★★★ “new form of theatre that includes drama, dance, music and … a powerful dystopian drama … weaving [Walsh’s] closely textured poetic prose into a new form of comprehensive, category-defying theatre.


No Galway international arts festival seems complete without a new play by Enda Walsh.

His latest, set in a suburban seaside leisure centre, deals with Walsh’s familiar themes of entrapment, isolation and imagined worlds. While it may not have the manic exuberance of his brilliant play Ballyturk (2014), it deals with the capacity of love to survive loss and death, and shows the playwright enthusiastically embracing a new form of theatre that includes drama, dance, music and visual art.

The set itself, designed by Jamie Vartan, is like an art installation. It depicts a waiting room of startling anonymity: three plastic chairs, a Swiss cheese plant, a ticket dispenser and a screen displaying illuminated numbers. We could be in a large hospital or an anteroom to hell. In fact, we are in one of the towers that dominate a nightmarish future city where the imprisoned Isla waits to learn her fate. Her only human contact is with a young man who sits in an adjacent control room operating the cameras that keep her under constant surveillance and listening to the stories she invents about the outside world.

Both characters are victims of a tyrannical system, and their attempt to elude it has strong echoes of Orwell’s 1984.

Almost all of Walsh’s plays deal with hermetic fantasists. The big difference here is that they are subject to a dictatorship, and the piece, subtitled “A Love Story”, suggests that the human spirit can withstand oppression. But I found Arlington less fascinating for what it says than for the way it says it. For a start, Walsh is clearly out to demolish the distinction between drama and visual art. A feature of the Galway festival is an installation, written and directed by Walsh, in which we sit in three rooms listening to the recorded voices of their past inhabitants. One of them, in which a woman recalls the family bedroom she quit as a child, is spoken by Charlie Murphy (who plays Isla in Arlington), and is no less theatrical than the staged event.

Walsh is also creating a theatre in which movement exists on an equal footing with text. In Ballyturk, we saw Cillian Murphy leaping on to a high ledge and Mikel Murfi physically evoking the inhabitants of an entire village. In Arlington, we see Isla gliding round the floor to a version of Baby, I Love You with an imagined partner and there is a long, wordless, central section in which Oona Doherty, to Emma Martin’s choreography and Teho Teardo’s music, expresses through movement the fury, frustration, grief and occasional gladness of the incarcerated. Her performance is every bit as pivotal to the play’s meaning as that of both Charlie Murphy as the pent-up prisoner and Hugh O’Conor as a technician caught up in a terrifying world of closely monitored control.

Arlington is certainly a powerful dystopian drama, even if it resorts to a self-sacrificing romantic gesture that Dickens would not – indeed did not –disdain. But when I’ve forgotten the ideas, I shall still recall Walsh’s boldness in weaving his closely textured poetic prose into a new form of comprehensive, category-defying theatre.

 

Written by Michael Billington for The Guardian 19.07.16

Review – Sunday Times

Enda Walsh’s new play is quite a trip … his quest to push theatrical boundaries results in a powerful experience in which choreography, music and video collide … a delightfully funny, nerdy, nameless young man (Hugh O’Conor).  Endearingly, they fall in love.  Dark political themes of displacement and loss are woven into a narrative going from sitcom and frantic farce to inevitable tragedy.  The setting is tempered by the sensitive performances, but also Teho Teardo’s terrific music and Jack Phelan’s transformative video design.  Adam Silverman’s highly charged lighting … Emma Martin’s expert choreography … pivotal contemporary dance sequence’

Written by Fiona Charleton for The Sunday Times 17.07.16 – Read the full review here

Review – The Independent

‘a powerfully political work … it’s as thought-provoking, bewildering a play as Walsh has yet written … given what can only be called a towering production by Landmark and the Galway Arts Festival … intensely moving, layered performances from Charlie Murphy as Isla and Hugh O’Conor as the young interrogator, separately and together intensely moving … Emma Martin’s impressively precise choreography … a seriously impressive and intelligent piece of theatre’


Is it better to submit, and survive to live a half-life? Or to break for fearful freedom, living with an intense awareness in the short period before destruction? Because a bid for freedom will be punished and defeated. It’s the way of all authoritarian societies, whether they masquerade as democracies or are openly totalitarian of the left or right.

 The prolific Enda Walsh’s new play Arlington poses the question in a powerfully political work that turns his trademark devices of pop music, even sweeties, into a metaphor for our increasingly homogenised and controlled society.

Isla has always lived alone in a tower waiting room, aware that she is not truly alone, but merely representative of “what happens”. Ultimately her number will be called and she will face her fate. Periodically, she is interrogated by an unseen controller; she has a new one, a rather nerdy young man who brings a naïve uncertainty to the task of recording the correctness or otherwise of Isla’s answers to his questions. The stories she tells him will decide her fate.

Others have broken under the waiting and taken matters into their own hands, as does another girl who performs a manic 20-minute dance of despair and frustration before throwing herself from the window.

But Isla escapes with the aid of the young interrogator and he has taken her… somewhere. It may have been a place of safety; Arlington? (with all the mental associations of that word with the dead of pointless wars).

Now he has been thrown into the tower room to be punished for his crime, battered and beaten, hapless and hopeless, but newly defiant. And as Isla suddenly appears before him and their love offers the peace of freedom, we are left to wonder if indeed they are together in this or any place; did he take her away only to end it in an act of mercy… or was it all a survival fantasy for two souls lost in an alien world?

It’s as thought-provoking, bewildering a play as Walsh has yet written, and that’s quite a statement, given his reputation for awkward complexity. It’s given what can only be called a towering production by Landmark and the Galway Arts Festival at Leisureland in Galway.

Once again, Walsh directs his own work and gets intensely moving, layered performances from Charlie Murphy as Isla and Hugh O’Conor as the young interrogator, separately and together intensely moving. Oona Doherty dances the suicidal young woman to Emma Martin’s impressively precise choreography. Jamie Vartan’s set is an unsettling parody of bureaucratic waiting spaces, and Adam Silverman’s lighting and Teho Teardo’s music score make up the creative backing for a seriously impressive and intelligent piece of theatre.

Written by Emer O’Kelly in The Independent 18.07.16

Review – The Stage

★★★★★   ‘a tremendous exploration of the transcending of circumstance … Walsh and the creative team combine stunning effects with playful physicality … Jack Phelan provides some of the most stirring video work that’s been seen on an Irish stage … Emma Martin’s choreography is visceral … beautifully stylised study of compassion and conditioning in the modern world’


Enda Walsh’s new play, Arlington, premiering at the Galway International Arts Festival, is a tremendous exploration of the transcending of circumstance. Sealed inside a room, Isla has been waiting years for her number to be called so she can make her place out in the world. Her routine of rehearsing for life outside is ruptured when a curtain tumbles, giving her a glimpse of the city and her bleak fate within it.

Charlie Murphy’s Isla fills her time by documenting stories of the world in the pattern of Samuel Beckett’s Winnie. But her daily routine begins to flow differently when a new operator (Hugh O’Conor) urges her on from an observation room – rather sweetly, the polite dialogue between the two could be mistaken for first date chatter.

Walsh – he also directs – and the creative team combine stunning effects with playful physicality: think Christopher Nolan meets Charlie Chaplin. There are neat tricks in Jamie Vartan’s set, with the design team making Isla’s room come alive. Jack Phelan provides some of the most stirring video work that’s been seen on an Irish stage and Emma Martin’s choreography is visceral, with dancer Oona Doherty moving like someone trying desperately to shake off their captivity.

This is Walsh’s most overtly political play to date. There are shades of the recent refugee crisis in the sinister voice of Olwen Fouere and the mortifying conditions summed up in O’Conor’s struggle. But, hard as it is, this is not a world without compassion.

Verdict: Beautifully stylised study of compassion and conditioning in the modern world

Written by Chris McCormack for The Stage 12.07.16

Charlie Murphy is drawn back into the darkness with new show Arlington

Enda Walsh’s new play might have dancing, but his trademark air of menace is never far from the surface, its star Charlie Murphy tells Maria Rolston

CHARLIE Murphy says she would have “done anything — I’d happily have recorded a 20-minute sneezing track” if Enda Walsh had asked her to. Such is her admiration for the playwright’s work.

The former Love/Hate star is about to perform in her second Walsh show, Arlington which premieres at the Galway International Arts Festival on Thursday, July 7. She says it’s a “privilege” to be working with the writer and director again. In fact, it was Walsh’s work that inspired the Wexford-born actress to pursue an acting career.

“Enda is definitely a hero of mine and getting to work with him is just a real privilege,” says the London-based 28-year-old.

“Reading Disco Pigs years ago is what made me want to become an actor and hunt for good stories — be it in television, film or on the stage — and this is a really good story, so I’m skipping in to work each day.”

Best known for her role as Siobhan in all five series of the TV drama Love/Hate — for which she twice won best actress at the Irish Film and Television Awards (Iftas) — Murphy has also starred in seasons one and two of Happy Valley for the BBC and played the lead role of Elizabeth in Rebellion for RTÉ.

Earlier this year she completed filming for action thriller, The Foreigner, to be released in 2017, shooting her own stunts alongside Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan — an experience she describes as “another random pocket of weird fun”.

And prior to rehearsing for the upcoming Walsh play, Murphy, who revealed that she is named after the English novelist, Charlotte Bronte, spent several months working in Yorkshire, shooting the role of Charlotte’s younger sister Anne, for the BBC feature film To Walk Invisible, due to be broadcast at Christmas.

“It was such an education learning about Anne because I didn’t know anything about her before I got the part. Obviously, you’d learn about Charlotte and Emily and the characters they created when you’re in school and college and my parents actually named me after Charlotte Bronte, so her work has always been close to my heart. Playing Anne and filming on the Yorkshire Moors where the Bronte sisters grew up was such a treat.”

It would seem that the Gaiety School of Acting graduate’s career trajectory is moving only in one direction — upwards. Yet, despite her successes, Murphy keeps her ego in check and displays a certain self- critical side that possibly enhances her acting work.

“You never imagine these kind of things happening and even when you start getting bigger roles you never anticipate that it’s just going to get better and better.

“I’m just really lucky with the people that I’ve had the chance to work with and collaborate with but I’m always thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is the gig I’m going to get found out on.’ There’s always a little bit of nervousness there, but nerves are good, they keep you on your toes,” she says.

Murphy’s role as Siobhan, which increased in importance in Love/Hate over its five-year span, was a huge help to her development.

“Playing a character that evolved over the entire five seasons was a real boost for my confidence, for what I’m capable of doing and for what a writer will entrust to me. I think I grew as an actor during that time. I came straight out of college into that role, for what was initially just a few days and then, year after year, the storyline for my character really started forming.”

Murphy’s part in the gritty drama helped prepare her for other dark roles such as her 2014 performance at the Abbey in Mark O’Rowe’s, Our Few and Evil Days and now, for Enda Walsh’s play.

Arlington is Walsh’s first new work for theatre since the musical Lazarus, co-written with David Bowie. Described by Walsh as “an ode to the human spirit and its ability to endure”, the play is a new departure for the playwright in that it has been produced in collaboration with Carlow-based choreographer, Emma Martin, and is one third dance.

“What I hope people will find most striking is the structure and format of the play,” says Walsh.

“For me, plays aren’t just talking places and although there’s usually a lot of talking in my plays, I think they’re more about atmosphere and tone than words.

“The subtext is really where the work is and I’ve been a fan of Emma’s dance work for a long time, so it’s been really interesting for me to go into a world that’s narrative and expressionistic, but not as we playwrights know it.”

Arlington has a simple three-part structure, opening with Isla, played by Murphy, who is waiting in a room, inside a tower, for her number to be called. The middle section is the dance piece, choreographed by Emma Martin and performed by Oona Doherty, and the final section centres on a young man, performed by Hugh O’Connor, who gained fame as the young Christy Brown in the Oscar-winning My Left Foot.

Murphy, who recorded a voice piece for Walsh’s A Girl’s Bedroom last year, says the new play is dark but she assures that there are lighter moments within it.

“Enda’s worlds are quite harrowing and the play is quite dark but there are moments of pure comedy and fun to perform, so I haven’t been dragging things home with me at night,” she says.

The dance piece, which is set to sound effects rather than music, does not aim to provide any relief from the darkness of the characters’ psyches.

Choreographer Emma Martin says: “We tried to get into the head of what solitude and confinement feel like and the physicality came out of that. We’re distilling things down to create the hallucinogenic sense of what happens when you’re left on your own for a long time.”

 

Written by Maria Rolston for the Irish Examiner 5.07.16

Hugh O’Conor: from My Left Foot to working with Enda Walsh

If you find yourself in the middle of Dublin with a few minutes to kill, you should visit the National Gallery and steal a look at a woman who will not return your gaze. This, according to her name badge, is Rebecca, a young Nigerian woman sitting in the nowhere space of an airport terminal. It is an appropriate location because Rebecca seems to be somewhere else entirely; her employer’s lanyard dangles over an open white shirt collar, unfolding like a lily, and her eyes have settled on a point far beyond the frame of the photograph. The image, Beckah, is exquisite and intriguing.

When it was first revealed at the gallery, two years ago, a couple stood in front of the picture and mused about Beckah’s secret. “I wonder what she’s thinking?” They turned around to find Beckah standing next to a young man. “I was thinking when my break was going to be,” Beckah told them. Standing next to her was Beckah’s photographer, who might have been familiar. Because Hugh O’Conor – an acclaimed film actor from the age of 10, an award-winning stage actor, a writer and director of short films, a video designer for theatre and a director of music videos – has spent his life in a stream of images. He is used to observing and to being observed.

“It’s a stolen moment,” he said of the photograph, which was shortlisted for the Hennesy Portrait Prize. “You’re freezing time. That’s why it can seem mysterious, I suppose.”

Gently spoken, unswervingly good- natured, contagiously enthusiastic and still boyishly handsome at the age of 40, O’Conor doesn’t strike you as a person likely to steal anything, not even a moment. Like many of his photographs, and indeed even his roles, Beckah’s portrait hovers between something candid and carefully composed. He sought permission before taking it and suggested simply that she look out the window. It adds to the texture of the image that she knows she is being watched.

In Enda Walsh’s new play, Arlington, for Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival, O’Conor plays another watcher, known in the text as the Young Man, who arrives in an anxious flap to monitor a Young Woman, played by Charlie Murphy, who has been trapped in a waiting-room, in a tower, and observed for her entire life.

It was written in three quick weeks and developed from a short piece that Walsh wrote earlier this year for Fighting Words and The Irish Times, and extends the playwright’s claustrophobic fixations with sealed spaces that fill with frantic words and frazzled performances. But if Arlington invites yet more comparisons to Beckett (an electronic display and the young woman’s astronomical ticket number underline her interminable waiting), Walsh’s allusions to the Syrian crisis, to images of displacement and isolation, power and control, may make it his most overtly political play.

O’Conor’s approach to performance is thorough, intellectual and quite sly. A voracious reader, he tends to first busy himself in research. For his award-winning performance as the Fool in Selina Cartmell’s production of King Lear for the Abbey, for instance, he read around the role extensively, watched every recorded performance available, made surprising associations, and created a figure both otherworldly and rooted – a combination, he now says, of Blackadder’s bitterness and Baldrick’s innocence. With Arlington, his inspiration seems to have begun somewhere closer.

“I’m being, like, really good at the moment,” he says in a mock Californian accent as he orders a virtuous salad. “I just thought I should be really skinny for the part. And quite nerdy. I’m wearing glasses at the moment in rehearsals.”

This sounds like someone we know. “It is weirdly a little bit like Enda, without my ever meaning it to,” he says. But Walsh – also eternally boyish, wiry and expressive – started out as a performer, and O’Conor recognises another actor when he sees one. “That’s why he is such a good director: because he appreciates what you’re going through. Sometimes I just watch him, because he naturally physicalises it.”

There’s every temptation to see the Young Man, who begins the play as a nervy observer and later becomes trapped in its surreal, oppressive world, as the playwright’s self-portrait.

O’Conor has a disarming tendency to illustrate his conversation with photographs, sometimes even with the description of a photograph. Brimming with anticipation for The Overcoat – an animated film version of a Gogol story he has adapted and which he has been trying to make for at least 17 years – he shows me image after image: a mock still of a grandfather (voiced by Alfred Molina) telling the story to his grandson; a charming spread of each character’s whimsical appearance; a picture of Cillian Murphy recording his part in a sound studio.

Another shows Enda Walsh, reclining on a plastic chair, as stiff as an ironing board, and peering with utmost scepticism into a book titled The Theatre of Enda Walsh, which O’Conor gave him as a gift. It is hard to imagine a more accurate portrait of Walsh. What was he thinking, I wonder? “He said he’s going to give it to Jo, his wife, to read, and maybe leave it in the loo.”

O’Conor considers his photography “just sort of a side thing”, but his work has been exhibited in the RHA, Rua and the National Gallery, and his ability to compose or capture a revealing image is hard to put down to a hobby. His collection of dressingroom portraits of actors immediately after – or shortly before – delivering performances for the arts anthology Winter Pages is a fascinating and beautiful document of people who seem neither quite on or off: Andrew Scott alone in his dressingroom after Sea Wall; Aoife Duffin laying down her head after A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing; the four female cast members of Lippy each at a separate mirror in a tunnel of introspection. They all seem comfortable being watched.

If Irish theatre has become more imagistic, more pictorial, O’Conor has been there to assist, using his film experience to design video refractions for Marina Carr’s 16 Possible Glimpses, or a backdrop of public surveillance for Mark O’Rowe’s version of Hedda Gabler, both at the Abbey.

He agrees that his early exposure to film acting may have shaped his ways of seeing things. “There is a photo of me, when I was doing Lamb [Colin Gregg’s dark drama from 1985, in which O’Conor starred opposite Liam Neeson], where I’m at this big film camera, in a train station somewhere, looking through the viewfinder. I was so excited being able to look through the camera. So I definitely got a bug for that.” It’s not always easy to say whether O’Conor is describing a picture or a memory.

When accepting the Oscar for My Left Foot, in 1990, Daniel Day-Lewis began with a sincere tribute to a collaboration: “I got to share Christy’s life for a while with a remarkable young actor called Hugh O’Conor,” he began, and the auditorium filled with applause. People invariably talk about the “difficult transition” from child acting to acting, but O’Conor, who was discovered in Betty Ann Norton’s theatre school, worked steadily ever since his debut, without interrupting his education. He studied theatre in Trinity College Dublin, then went to film school in New York University. “I definitely wasn’t against it,” he says of acting early, “but I didn’t naturally want to do it.”

Again he sounds like an outside observer, pitching an idea: “That would be such an interesting story about child actors,” he says, “having come from there myself. It’s an interesting world. Whether you buy into the fantasy of it or the reality.”

His work, you suspect, is always somewhere in between the two. He prefers to photograph real people rather than models, for instance, but takes care to frame them. He is entirely unprecious about the artifice that goes into creating convincing portrayals: “Maybe don’t say this, but I’m reading a book on acting at the moment, just to remind myself,” he laughs. “It’s Declan Donnellan’s The Actor and the Target, it’s actually really beautiful.” And, as someone accustomed to being looked at, he is aware that in these watchful times everyone is caught in some kind of a performance. “You know yourself, you don’t want to feel like you’re acting all the time, but we all kind of do.”

That seems to be as true for Beckah, the monitored figures in the theatre of Enda Walsh, or, indeed, for O’Conor, the most observed of observers. As our interview ends, I ask if I can take his photograph. He doesn’t seem to mind.

Written by Peter Crawley for The Irish Times 5.07.16

Poetry and death collide in Enda’s new love story

‘Did you ever write?” asks Enda Walsh. “Yeah,” says Charlie Murphy.

Playwright and actress are sitting together because Charlie, who you might know as Siobhan from Love/Hate, is starring in Enda’s brand new play, Arlington.

“Did you?!” he gasps.

“I love writing,” she smiles.

Ireland’s most raved-over dramatist has just let slip that when he was 17, he wrote love poetry for girls – “really, really, brilliant poetry”. Taking tea in Dublin to promote the world première of this surprise new play, which he pulled like a rabbit from a hat for Landmark Productions and the Galway International Arts Festival, he appears delightfully stunned.

“Do you still write?” he asks.

“Yeah.”

“What do you write?”

“Poetry.”

“You don’t. Do you?”

“I do!”

“But seriously. How often would you do that, of a week?”

“I wrote a poem for someone yesterday.”

“No.”

“I did!”

“Very sweet.”

The cast are in their third week of rehearsals and discovery is in the air. Maybe if Arlington was a different sort of play, it wouldn’t matter that Charlie writes poetry. But the play is set in a world that feels, according to its writer and its director Enda, “sad, and terrifying, and brutal.” It is about “love, enduring an oppressive, collapsing world”, says the 49-year-old.

In truth, no one can say what it’s about until they’ve seen it. As with most of Walsh’s plays, it’s up to the audience to say for themselves. (“There’s nothing like sending an audience out and going, you f**king go away and think about that,” says the foul-mouthed priest of Irish theatre).

But mention of “refugees”, “disparate lives”, “war”, “horrible regimes”, “right-wing regimes”, “ISIS” and “America being fed fear” suggest that Arlington is more about The World and Now than anything he’s made before.

His plays are often set in confined spaces outside of reality as we know it. Ballyturk in “no place, no time”; The Walworth Farce in a murderous tower block somewhere in London; The Last Hotel (an opera) on what might have been the edge of an empty earth.

“I don’t write work that is overtly political or sociological,” says Walsh, “but this feels like it might be under the fingernails of what now is.”

Arlington features Isla (Murphy) in a waiting room, in a tower, being monitored. “It does feel like a weird fable,” says Murphy. She falls in love, but through a wall, with Young Man (Hugh O’Conor), whom she can’t see.

“It’s a strange, modern way of falling in love with someone,” says Hugh.

Phrases like “star cast” are unavoidable, with Murphy, O’Conor and the voices of Olwen Fouéré and Stephen Rea in the mix. The play is also a formal leap, with an intriguing new dimension brought to Walsh’s close circle of set and sound designers – choreographer Emma Martin is working with contemporary dancer Oonagh Doherty who plays “Young Woman”.

Arlington came to Walsh during a bleak time.

“Everyone was dying last year. One of my best friends died in September, my mum died in October and I was working with someone I knew was going to die.” (David Bowie, who made Broadway musical Lazarus with Walsh before he died in January).

“I was feeling a bit bashed-up. I thought it would be really good for my soul to write something about love,” he says.

Walsh wrote it in three weeks during a “blaze” of productivity in January, and commandeered his cast. Like a siren on a rock lures her sailor, Murphy came to Walsh through a voice. He had seen the Wexford actress in Mark O’Rowe’s Our Few and Evil Days and in his own play, Disco Pigs, at the Old Vic. But it was her disembodied voice in his installation A Girl’s Bedroom that caught his fancy.

“When I started writing this, I thought maybe Murphy will like it.”

And? “I loved it, loved it,” she shrugs. “I’m skipping into work every day.”

As for O’Conor – the child star of My Left Foot and Lamb turned beloved film and stage actor, and a director and photographer in his own right – at 42, this is his first Enda Walsh play. “I’ve never been happier coming into a rehearsal room. He’s so exciting to be around, and you just feed off him. Enda’s got this incredible imagination.”

And the work itself? “There’s nothing like it,” says O’Conor. “Literally, I’ve never read anything like it.”

But Arlington is where poetry and death meet. In February, Walsh was walking by the Liffey when he saw the Arlington Hotel. “I thought, that is such a beautiful word, Arlington. It feels grand.” He remembered it came from the Arlington Cemetery in Washington: “City of the Dead, they call it.” He had the title for his love story.

Arlingtonory plays at Leisureland, Salthill, July 7-24 as part of Galway International Arts Festival. Enda Walsh’s installation pieces Rooms – A Girl’s Bedroom and Room 303 also play. http://www.giaf.ie

Written by Maggie Armstrong for The Independent 3.07.16

World Premiere: Arlington – A new play by Enda Walsh

What I saw outside the window, kept me from sleeping.

Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival are delighted to announce the world premiere of a new play by Enda Walsh. 

Arlingtonis Walsh’s first new work for the theatre since the New York premiere of Lazarus, co-written with David Bowie. 

Written and directed by Enda Walsh and choreographed by Emma Martin, it stars actors Charlie Murphy and Hugh O’Conor, and dance artist Oona Doherty.

It reunites the world-class creative team behind Misterman, Ballyturk and The Last Hotel: set and costume designer Jamie Vartan, lighting designer Adam Silverman and sound designer Helen Atkinson. They will be joined by composer Teho Teardo (Ballyturk) and by video designer Jack Phelan.

In the midst of a bleak and terrifying world, Enda Walsh has dared to imagine a strange, tender love story. Arlington is an ode to the human spirit and its powers to endure. 

The play will premiere as part of Galway International Arts Festival in a specially-constructed theatre space at Leisureland, Salthill, Co. Galway.

For more information see www.giaf.ie/arlington / www.arlingtontheplay.com.