(US premiere production)
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELDS
by Deirdre Kinahan
directed by Laley Lippard
Developed by Solas Nua from an original commission by Meath County Council Arts Office.
Deirdre Kinahan – Playwright
Laley Lippard* – Director
Tony Thomas – Choreographer
Marianne Meadows+* - Lighting Designer
Gordon Nimmo-Smith – Sound Designer
Tosin Olufolabi – Sound Designer
Rex Daugherty/Laley Lippard – Production Design
Sam Reilly – Stage Manager
Izzy Gholl – Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager
Shaun Delany – Sound Operator/Run Crew
Caroline Dubberly – Composer
Heather Lockard – Costume Consultant
+ = Member United Scenic Artists
* = Solas Nua Associate Artist
Jessica Lefkow – Eithne
Ryan Sellers – Sean, Denis, Ronan, Jake, Marianne, Ensemble
Caroline Dubberly – Maisie, Maire, Lizzie, Numa, Ensemble
A NOTE FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THEATRE
It is with deep joy that I welcome you back to a live Solas Nua production! We’ve collectively experienced a prolonged need to connect with one another, and I am profoundly grateful to share this moment of re-emergence with all of you.
My first show as Artistic Director of Theatre at Solas Nua was Wild Sky by Deirdre Kinahan, staged as a site-specific piece in private residences throughout DC, so I find it perfectly fitting that our first in person show since the pandemic is another piece with Deirdre, in another non-traditional performance space. The energy here in the park has been palpable. Throughout rehearsals, so many people have wandered up to us and asked “this looks amazing – what’s happening?!” We’ve been cheered on by total strangers, thanked for our efforts before they’ve even seen the show. There’s a spark in their eyes when they realize a play in the park is coming. People are craving live performances to return to our city. And I’ve been eager to create experiences that bring beauty and wonder to DC. I want the arts to be an Energy that bursts into the community, reclaiming this past year with new priorities for the future.
The creative team and I have been asking each other recently, “as we return to ‘normal life’ - what are the things we hope to keep from the pandemic, and what do we hope to never see again?” That poignant question is exactly why I chose to produce In the Middle of the Fields at this moment. Before we return to our full pre-pandemic routines, what a gift we have to reflect on this past year, and decide how our next chapter will be different than before. My fervent wish is that we won’t merely resume our lives as before. I hope tonight’s experience, in the middle of this field, will inspire you to imagine a better tomorrow for yourself and for our city.
SOLAS NUA & NUEVA VIDA – NEW LIGHT & NEW LIFE
Solas Nua is honored to be in partnership with Nueva Vida throughout the run of this production. Nueva Vida provides free cancer services to the Latina community in the DMV area. 22 years ago, three professional Latinas developed breast cancer, and while soul searching they asked themselves: “if we are going through such a difficult time can you imagine what underserved Latinas with limited or no resources, including English language proficiency challenges, are going through?” They turned their pain into action and their personal suffering into healing others by creating Nueva Vida, a culturally competent support health network for Latinas with or at high risk of developing cancer.
And you can help! You’re likely reading this on your phone, so go ahead and text NVI to 41444 and make a donation right now!
In the Middle of the Fields is sponsored by:
Anna McGowan, Susy and Kevin Murphy, Pete Miller and Sara Cormeny, with additional support by Carl Nash.
Heather Lockard, Aaron Denu, Jason Tamborini, Prologue Theater, The Mansion on O St, Flying V, Theater Alliance, Raymond Caldwell, The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Stage Guild, The Meath Arts Council, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, 1st Stage, Rob Halligan, Frank Labovitz, Beckett Daugherty and The National Park Service.
Considered "one of modern Irish fiction's most subversive voices", Mary Lavin wrote the short story In the Middle of the Fields as a multidimensional, unique, and private journey -- a subversively simple ode to a woman's struggle towards freedom. Like many modern women writers, Mary Lavin brilliantly uses domestic images, metaphor, and symbol to illustrate broader truths about collective societal struggle. Recently in an effort to honor her impact in the Irish and national literary field, a group of artists, including one of the greatest contemporary Irish playwrights, Deirdre Kinahan, created a night of music, poetry, and other art inspired by the original text. Kinahan crafted a two-page poem about the swell of memories, fears, and dreams a woman encounters as she begins a journey away from one life, through a new portal to another. Kinahan wove her own experiences through that poem, meeting and diverting from the original character's life, wrestling her own struggle with cancer through Eithne's eyes. And from that poem, we have created our own third iteration, In The Middle of the Fields, where an Irish story from the 1960's has moved from prose to poetry to production, carrying along the journey a multi-dimensional, multi-form storytelling. What once was a story of the internal thoughts of a woman in rural Cavan has become a meditation on our collective moment here in Washington, DC. What portals will we walk through together as we simultaneously mourn for what we're emerging from and celebrate what's next? How will we steal ourselves to the change and still ourselves for the healing that is surely to come?
-Laley Lippard, Director
Deirdre Kinahan (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s elected body of outstanding artists. Previously with Solas Nua - Wild Sky, The Frederick Douglass Project (Helen Hayes Nomination – Outstanding New Play). Recent work includes: Embargo (Fishamble), Dear Ireland, The Bloodied Field, The Unmanageable Sisters (Abbey Theatre), Rathmines Road (Fishamble), Crossings (Pentabus),) Renewed (Old Vic London). New Projects include: Fallen (opera) – Meath County Council, Creative Ireland and Belfast Ensemble, Ettie (Musical) – Irish Arts Centre NYC, The Visit Draiocht & Dublin Theatre Festival, Civil War Commemoration Play – Meath County Council. Deirdre is an Associate Artist with Meath County Council Arts Office. Her plays are translated into many languages, published by Nick Hern Books and produced regularly in Ireland and on the International stage.
Laley Lippard (Director) is a proud associate artist of Solas Nua (Director - The Smuggler). She has directed and collaborated with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, O’Neill Theatre Center, Guthrie Theater, Round House Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House, American Theater Company, Magic Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Court Theatre, Theatre J, Virginia Stage Company, among others. As a producer, Lippard was the co-founder and executive producer of The Chicago Home Theater Festival, organizer of Z/Magic Mondays at Magic Theatre as an artistic associate, interim creative producer at The Welders, and curator of over 30 virtual events with Mosaic Theater during the pandemic. Lippard is a proud member of the National Directors Fellowship, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and associate member of the SDC. MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.
Tony Thomas (Choreographer) is an independent artist working a wide range of mediums. His theatre credits include Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, Constellation Theatre, and Imagination Stage. He was nominated for Outstanding Choreography by the Helen Hayes Awards for P.Y.G at Studio Theatre and for Word Becomes Flesh at Theater Alliance. Performance credits include West Side Story (Tio) National Tour, Guys & Dolls, and A Chorus Line (HH Award Outstanding Musical Production) at Olney Theatre Center. He serves as Head of Dance and Artistic Supervisor (Pre-Professional Program) at Adventure Theatre MTC, sits on the board and dance faculty with Ngoma Center for Dance. Tony Thomas Designs was developed in 2004, featuring Tio Diaz Studio as a premiere creative firm in Interior Architecture and Creative Direction in the arts and entertainment industry.
Jessica Lefkow (Eithne) is a performer, director and teacher, whose local credits include performances at Olney Theater Center, 1st Stage, Keegan Theatre, Taffety Punk Theatre Company, We Happy Few DC, Brave Spirits Theatre Company, dog&ponydc. Regional and touring credits include appearances at American Shakespeare Center, Gulfshore Playhouse. Nominee, Helen Hayes Best Supporting Actress In a Play Award (Helen) for her work in We Happy Few’s Lover’s Vows. Previous work with Solas Nua has included readings of Strandline and Lally the Scut by Abbie Spallen. Jessica is a Lecturing Professor at Montgomery County Community College in Rockville, MD. She holds a BFA (Acting) from The Catholic University of America and an MFA Degree in Classical Acting from George Washington University. Jessica is an Equity Member Candidate, a member of AFTRA, and is Mom to DJE. www.jessicalefkow.com
Ryan Sellers (Ensemble) National Tour: Five Little Monkeys (ATMTC) DC Area: Synetic Theater: The Adventures of Peter Pan, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Taming of the Shrew, The Three Musketeers, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Helen Hayes, Best Ensemble), Macbeth, The Master And Margarita, Antony and Cleopatra, Don Quixote, Dante, Romeo and Juliet (Helen Hayes, Best Ensemble), Othello, The Mark of Cain; Signature Theater: West Side Story, Threepenny Opera, Miss Saigon; Folger Theater: The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Second Shepherds' Play Studio Theater: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Shakespeare Theater: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Constellation Theater: White Snake, Arabian Nights, Keegan Theatre: The Undeniable Sound of Right Now; Creative Cauldron: The Turn of the Screw, Madeline's Christmas; Arts On The Horizon: Sunny & Licorice, Point A to Point B.
Caroline Dubberly (Ensemble) is thrilled to be in her first show at Solas Nua. DC theatre credits include: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Kennedy Center; Translations, The Father, Studio Theatre; Baby Screams Miracle, Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Betrayal, 4615 Theatre; Be More Chill, Monumental Theatre; Top Girls (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress) and Next to Normal (HHN for Outstanding Supporting Actress), Keegan Theatre. Regional credits include: Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Stage West; Blood Wedding, Cara Mia Theatre; The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Dallas Children's Theater, The Lady Revealed, Theatre3. Caroline hosts a theatre podcast called The CaroDubb After-School Theatre Camp Power Hour, which is available wherever you listen to podcasts. www.carolinedubberly.com
Tosin Olufolabi (Sound Designer) is a designer, deviser & facilitator. Her sound designs include Hi, Are You Single?, Gloria (Woolly Mammoth); Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Dancing Men, Loveday Brooke in the Mystery of the Drawn Daggers & Lovers’ Vows (We Happy Few); Head Over Heels (Monumental Theater); My Barking Dog (Edge of the Universe Players 2); Sleep Deprivation Chamber, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Round House Theatre); Ties That Bind, Caucasian Chalk Circle & Antigone (Catholic University); God is Dead & April is Getting Married (Three Muses); Peepshow (dog & pony dc); Abortion Road Trip & Soldier Poet (Theatre Prometheus); Lela & Co. (Factory 449); Blacktop Sky (York College). Assistant design credits include Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Kennedy Center TYA); Still Life with Rocket (Theater Alliance).
Gordon Nimmo-Smith (Sound Designer) is a Helen Hayes Nominated sound designer, audio/video engineer and production manager based in Washington, D.C. His sound designs have been heard around the D.C. area, for companies including Solas Nua (Little Thing, Big Thing) Constellation Theatre Company, Keegan Theatre, Metrostage, Spooky Action Theater, Flying V and Rorschach Theatre Company. Alongside his freelance work, Gordon is currently the Audio/Video Supervisor for Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Marianne Meadows (Lighting Designer) has happily been with Solas from almost the very beginning. Local designs in the D.C. area include productions for The Kennedy Center, Fords Theatre, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, RepStage, Theatre J, Washington Shakespeare Company, Scena Theatre (including international tours), Washington Stage Guild, Histrio, The In-Series, Step Afrika, Compass Rose, and more. She has toured nationally as the Lighting Director for Cook, Dixon, and Young, the original Three Mo’ Tenors.
Ms. Meadows also works as a Designer for Atmosphere Lighting Inc, and as a Lighting Director for Optimum Audio. Four nominations for the Helen Hayes Award, The Theatre Lobby’s Mary Goldwater Award, 2004. Member, United Scenic Artists Local #829; BA Sarah Lawrence College, MFA University of Washington, training at Lester Polakov’s Studio and Forum of Stage Design NYC.
Izzy Gholl (Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager) is a local DC actor and director who just graduated from The Catholic University of America with a Bachelors of Music in Musical Theatre. This is her first production with Solas Nua and she is very excited to be a part of this beautiful show. She looks forward to continuing her work as an actor and director in DC, and to hopefully working with Solas Nua and this incredible cast and crew again in the future.
Philippa P.B. Hughes (Audience Engagement) is a Social Sculptor and Creative Strategist who produces creative projects that transform society through humanizing and compassionate conversations between people who might not normally meet. She has designed and produced hundreds of unconventional, delightful, and fun activations aimed at building social capital, social cohesion, and social discourse. Her practice prioritizes relationships and encompasses a multi-disciplinary approach that is informed by sociology, psychology, philosophy, political science, community organizing, design thinking, creative placemaking, art, and humanities. She leads CuriosityConnects.us, a partner in Looking For America, a national series inviting politically diverse guests to break bread and talk to each other face-to-face.
Rex Daugherty (Producer/Artistic Director of Theatre) has served as AD of Theatre since 2015, during which he has garnered international acclaim for Solas Nua, earned multiple Helen Hayes Awards and nominations, and produced the top 3 highest grossing shows in the company’s 15 year history. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, on the cover of American Theatre Magazine, The Irish Times, RTE Culture, and RTE’s national broadcast. Recently, The Smuggler was listed by The New York Times as one of the best theatre productions of 2019, nationwide. His work has also been seen at The Kennedy Center, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The National Theatre, The Warner Theatre, Ford's Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, Folger Theatre, Rep Stage, Imagination Stage, Arts on the Horizon, The OKC Civic Center, and Off Broadway at 59E59.
RECENTLY AT SOLAS NUA
- Pat Kinevane won a Helen Hayes Award for his 2019 performance of Silent, co-presented by Solas Nua and Fishamble: the new play company. The production previously earned an Olivier Award in 2016.
- Solas Nua’s Artistic Director of Theatre Rex Daugherty’s one-man performance in The Smuggler was picked by The New York Times as one of the best productions of 2019, nationwide. DC Theatre Scene named it the hit show of the year.
- Emoji Play, our live-digital performance in October 2020, was included as one of the most innovative digital theater productions across the country by The Washington Post.
Read the article here
- We were featured in The Irish Times, who said audiences can, “Catch super stories, haunting sounds and intriguing conversations at Solas Nua"
Read the article here
- Solas Nua was featured in The Washington Post for making creative and institutional progress despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Read the article here
COMING UP NEXT
Thank you for joining us at P St Beach for our production of In the Middle of the Fields. Join us for a special post-show reflection!
Nationally recognized Social Sculptor & Creative Strategist Philippa Hughes will lead conversations inspired by the play.
- Join Philippa and poet Noelia Cerna online on June 15 at 5:30 PM to talk about the play and share stories of our vision for the future. Noelia will write personalized poems for each of you based on your stories.
Sign up for this free event here: Post Show Poetry
- PODCAST: Check out Episode One of our new podcast, We are the Makers. Now available anywhere you get your podcasts.
Episode Two coming on June 26th.
- FILM: I Am Traveller – June 30 at 7 PM ET
I Am Traveller is John Connors' personal account of what being a Traveller means to him. He reveals what he loves about Traveller culture, as well as what frustrates him about it.