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Monday, 22 August 2011 11:49

Mint Theater Extends TEMPORAL POWERS in First-Ever Revival

Drama Desk Award-Winning Mint Theater Extends

TEMPORAL POWERS

by Teresa Deevy, directed by Jonathan Bank

Resurrectionist extraordinaire of forgotten plays!” - Ben Brantley, New York Times, August 21st, 2011

First-Ever Revival Runs Now Through October 2

Mint Theater today announced that Temporal Powers will extend through October 2nd at the Mint’s home in the heart of the theater district, 311 West 43rd Street. Ben Brantley, in The New York Times Arts & Leisure (August 21st) hailed the Mint as the “resurrectionist extraordinaire of forgotten plays.”

Opening Night is set for August 29th.

Jonathan Bank directs a cast that features Rosie Benton, Paul Carlin, Robertson Carricart, Bairbre Dowling, Con Horgan, Eli James, Aidan Redmond, Wrenn Schmidt, and Fiana Toibin. Temporal Powers has set design by Vicki R. Davis, costume design by Andrea Varga, lighting design by Jeff Nellis, and sound design by Jane Shaw.

Michael and Min are stone-broke and homeless, but the greatest test of their marriage comes when, after taking shelter in a crumbling ruin, they stumble upon hidden treasure.  Min sees a chance to start a new life; Michael fears it’s stolen and wants to give it to the priest.  As the night grows dark, neither one is left able to see right from wrong. Temporal Powers, set in Ireland in the 1920's, is a story of love and loss, where hope and despair are two sides of the same contested coin(Aidan Redmond and Rosie Benton, who received much acclaim for their supporting performances in Wife to James Whelan last season, will play Michael and Min; The New York Times said of them: “Both actors are just right, asserting their presence when the script calls for it but never overpowering the leads”).

Teresa Deevy’s explosive drama won First Prize in the new play competition held by the Abbey Theatre in 1932.  The judges called the play “strikingly original and of fine literary quality.”  It was produced to great acclaim that year:  “Amongst the best that the Abbey Theatre has ever staged,” The Guardianreported; “one of the most thoughtful works seen for sometime at the Abbey,”said The Irish Times. The Irish Independent added: “In Temporal Powers Miss Teresa Deevy has written an original and thought-provoking play. Her characters are drawn from Irish life, they speak in a rich and natural idiom, the incidents might have happened in any Irish Village.  Miss Deevy knows her people, that is obvious, but the angle from which she regards them is unusual.  It is not distortion, but rather that sublime quality in the artist, originality.” 

The critics were unanimous in their enthusiastic praise for Temporal Powers and confidently expected that it would be seen regularly in the years to come.  “There seems little doubt that Temporal Powers will figure often in the Abbey repertory,” predicted The Stage. Instead, Temporal Powers was revived once, in 1937, and then vanished. 

Teresa Deevy was born in 1894, the youngest of thirteen children.  Intent on a teaching career, Teresa enrolled in the University College, Dublin in 1913. After about a year she began to feel ill; her ears rang and she suffered frequent bouts of vertigo.  She was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, an incurable condition caused by fluid imbalance in the inner ear.  Within a few years, Deevy had completely lost her hearing.  Teresa went to London to learn lip reading and there she discovered theatre. She studied the plays in advance and sat in the front row night after night, entranced by what she saw.  Teresa had found her calling.  Oblivious to all obstacles, she decided to become a playwright.  Fifteen years later at the age of 36, after numerous rejections, the Abbey Theater produced Deevy’s play Reapers.  While the play was not a success, Andrew E. Malone (Dublin Magazine, 1930), one of Ireland’s leading critics predicted: “The new dramatist from whom most may be expected in the future is Miss T. Deevy.” Deevy went on to have five more plays produced at the Abbey over the next six years.  In 1936 her play Katie Roche was hailed a masterpiece and selected for publication in an anthology of Famous Plays of the year.  A London production followed in ‘38, Macmillan published three of her plays in one volume in ’39.  Teresa Deevy had become “the most important dramatist writing for the Irish theatre since 1930.” (Lennox Robinson, Dublin Magazine, 1940). Then the tide turned.  Wife To James Whelan was rejected by the Abbey’s new management, breaking Teresa’s heart and ending her career as an Abbey playwright.  Undaunted, Deevy turned her attention to writing for the radio where she enjoyed some success, but by the time of her death, in 1963, she had been virtually forgotten.

Last year, audiences and critics were unanimous in their embrace of this long lost playwright:

“Mint Theater is certainly making an elegant case that the Abbey Theater in Dublin missed an opportunity almost 70 years ago when it declined to produce Wife to James Whelan.” New York Times

“The Mint so believes in Deevy that it's already scheduled another of her plays for next year. After seeing Wife to James Whelan, that doesn't sound quixotic anymore.” New York Post

“One of the best things I’ve seen in a very long time.” Irish Examiner

The Deevy Project will continue for another year with a production of Deevy’s most successful play, Katie Roche, beginning in August 2012.

 “The Mint does for forgotten drama what the Encores! series does for musicals, on far more modest means” (The New York Times).  The Mint was awarded an OBIE for “combining the excitement of discovery with the richness of tradition,” and a special Drama Desk Award for “unearthing, presenting and preserving forgotten plays of merit.”

Performances for Temporal Powers are Tuesday through Thursday at 7 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $55.  All performances will take place on the Third Floor of 311 West 43rd Street. Tickets are available by calling the Mint box office at 212/315-0231 or go to www.minttheater.org

The Mint continues its wildly popular CHEAP TIX:Everyone appreciates a bargain, especially these days. MintTheater Company offers a limited number of seats for every performance at half-price($27.50).