Though there is some debate as to when "The Troubles" actually began, its blood-soaked legacy is one that has been ever-present in popular culture for over fifty-years. In truth, it's only been just over twenty-years since the conflict abated with the Good Friday Agreement. "Rory and the Devil" takes the audience back to the early days of the ordeal, using a small, rural pub as the backdrop for a powerful piece of theatrical reckoning.
"I was inspired to tell this story by the engaging, yet often outlandish, stories told by my Irish American family," says writer/director David McElwee. McElwee, a successful New York stage actor, decided Hollywood Fringe Festival was the perfect venue for his writing and directing debut: "I have come to the conclusion that not much is needed to tell a great story: a dirty pint glass can become a chalice; a wet umbrella can become an antique rifle...these are principles of doing a show at Hollywood Fringe."
Taking place over the course of one night at the aforementioned pub, the piece revolves around Mary Friel, a barmaid striving to maintain harmony amongst the men in her life. Ancestral legends and secrets are revisited and a cycle of violence is revealed. It's a talented cast of characters inhabited by a diverse group of local actors: Jennifer Lane Oakley as "Mary"; John Apicella as "Neil"; Glenn Stanton as "Rua"; John Harnagel as "Hugh"; Tyee Tilghman as "Robert"; and Brennan Murray as ""Collin".
The crew consists of Marissa Rivera assistant directing and Fringe veteran, Billy Ray Brewton (writer/director of 2018's award-winning A Beast/A Burden), producing. "I read the script and I was blown away," says Brewton. "It's such a powerful and intimate story about a conflict most people only relate to in very broad terms. There was no doubt I had to be involved in some capacity for one reason and one reason only: I'd have been stupid to not."
For his first Hollywood Fringe Festival, McElwee will also be stepping into a role in Brewton's 2019 directing effort, "Son of a Bitch", written by Lucy Gillespie and running at The Broadwater Black Box. But that workload certainly hasn't diminished the excitement of bringing a world premiere to Hollywood's theatre row. Says McElwee: "Enjoy a pint and a whisky as a group of actors take you to Neil Friel's pub - a safe place for a good story - until it isn't. Come enjoy the best of what Irish storytelling has to offer!"
Performing at Thymele Arts (5481 Santa Monica Blvd.), "Rory and the Devil" runs 6/8 at 4:15pm (preview performance); 6/13 at 9:15pm; 6/16 at 3:45pm; 6/22 at 4:15pm; 6/23 at 8:15pm; 6/25 at 7:15pm; and 6/30 at 3:45pm. Tickets are $15 and available at www.roryandthedevil.com.
Rory and The Devil deals with the Irish upheaval which ended with the “Good Friday Agreement”. If you don’t know the story you can google the real life events, by searching for Irish, Good Friday Agreement, 20 years ago. That combo should hit the nail right on the head in your search bar. This play takes a look at what the rukus’ point of view looked like from inside a small pub. David McElwee is a veteran stage actor in New York City, who felt The Hollywood Fringe Festival was the perfect venue for his directorial debut. Rory and The Devil is set for early previews tomorrow June 8th, but will run throughout the month of June. Be sure to check out the Fringe Festival’s website for a full run of show, to put this on your watch list.
Rory and The Devil takes place over the course of one night inside the small pub. The play revolves around Mary Friel, a barmaid striving to maintain harmony amongst the men in her life. The characters revisit ancestral legends and secrets revealing a cycle of violence. It’s a talented cast of characters inhabited by a diverse group of actors: Jennifer Lane Oakley as “Mary”; John Apicella as “Neil”; Glenn Stanton as “Rua”; John Harnagel as “Hugh”; Tyee Tilghman as “Robert”; and finally Brennan Murray as “Collin”. The piece is also being assistant directed by Marissa Rivera.
Equal parts humorous and haunting, “Rory and the Devil” is 90 minutes of straight up good, captivating theatre. Littered with a slew of excellent performances, this show deserves a real run in a real theatre.
I’m very impressed with the skill of playwright and director David McElwee. His debut of Rory and the Devil revealed a gift for writing and command of language. To present the 1970s political turmoil of Northern Ireland in all its complexities within a compelling and personable story is not easy yet he succeeded beautifully.
Really enjoyed this, which takes place over the course of an evening in a bar in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. It was well-acted by the cast, who clearly gave it 100%, and the story is full of surprises. Well worth seeing.
A bold and ambitious script beautifully articulated by spellbinding performances by all six cast members. Can’t recommend highly enough this engrossing new drama — it’s a truly arresting and devastating ninety minutes.
A mesmerizing ode to the art of storytelling brought to lucrative life by a playwright immersed in history and a cast at the tops of their collective games. A must see. A phenomenal piece or contemporary theatre.