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Abbey skeds tribute to Murphy

Festival to mount five full productions with Irish talent

DUBLIN — Playwright Tom Murphy — lauded in Ireland as equally influential and important as Brian Friel but much less well known outside the country — will be honored in a festival of his work at the Abbey Theater.

As part of the Dublin Theater Festival Oct. 1-13, the Abbey will mount five full productions of Murphy’s plays, directed and performed by an all-star list of Irish talent, as well as a staged reading and numerous other ancillary events.

Director Conall Morrison — the up-and-comer who ran into trouble last year when he was replaced by Trevor Nunn at the eleventh hour as director of “Peer Gynt” for the Royal National Theater — eyes a comeback with a production of Murphy’s brutal early emigration play “A Whistle in the Dark.”

Abbey a.d. Ben Barnes will helm a production of Murphy’s “The Gigli Concert” headlined by Mark Lanbert. On the Abbey’s second stage, the Peacock, Gerard Stembridge (writer-director of feature “About Adam”) will direct “The Morning After Optimism”; Lynne Parker directs “The Sanctuary Lamp”; and Murphy himself directs the play many consider his masterpiece, “Bailegangaire,” with Olivier winner Pauline Flanagan in the central role of Mommo.

Other highlights of the Dublin Theater Festival include the Betty Nansen Theater of Copenhagen’s new musicalization of “Woyzeck” by Robert Wilson and Tom Waits; the well-traveled Peter Brook production of “Le Costume”; a triple-header of new one-acts at the Gate Theater by Brian Friel, Neil Jordan and Conor McPherson; and a staging of Roddy Doyle’s “Guess Who’s Coming for the Dinner” by Calypso Theatre Co. The play is adapted from a New Yorker short story.

The Dublin Fringe (Sept. 24-Oct. 13) will present “James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet,” a staging of a 1982 John Cage piece that’s a co-production with the Edinburgh Intl. Festival, among others; “Tiny Dynamite,” a co-production between Brit companies Frantic Assembly and Paines Plough that’s wowing the Edinburgh Fringe this year; and a comprehensive slate of work from Irish independent companies including Rough Magic, Red Kettle, Meridian and Calipo.

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