-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
Inis Nua Theatre Company will open its 19th season with the American premiere of 10 Dates With Mad Mary, written by Irish-Pakistani playwright Yasmine Akram. This comedy play tells the story of Mary McArdle, an antisocial young woman trying to find a date for her best friend’s wedding. This raucous one-woman show marks the return of Inis Nua’s Pop-Up Play in a Pub, a popular event with Inis Nua regulars and newcomers alike. 10 Dates will be directed by Kathryn MacMillan and stars Anna Faye Lieberman as Mad Mary.
Tickets include a pie made by Stargazy on East Passyunk and a cold pint from the team behind the bar at Fergie’s Pub. The show runs from October 26, 2022 until November 6, for a total of eight performances. All performances will take place upstairs at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. Tickets are on sale now for $30 by calling (215) 454-9776 or visiting inisnuatheatre.org.
“I first read 10 Dates for Mad Mary on a train and had to quiet myself from laughing, so I wouldn’t disturb the other passengers,” said Inis Nua’s Interim Artistic Director Charlotte Northeast. “Mad Mary isn’t someone you necessarily want to hang out with, but once she starts talking you can’t look away. And she has a really deep core.”
Once known as the best fighter in her hometown of Drogheda, ‘Mad Mary’ has emerged from prison slightly older and wiser–she’s the ripe old age of 25. She finds herself needing a date to her best friend’s wedding and enlists the help of a speed dating service to find one. At times foul-mouthed and aggressively funny, Mary embarks on a journey to find a date – and perhaps herself. Mary is one of those girls with a talent for ruining whatever good things come her way, which lends the play its big laughs, unexpected moments, and powerful emotional turns. Fans of Inis Nua’s past solo plays such as Finding Fassbender, How To Be Brave, and A Hundred Words for Snow, will find much to enjoy in this intimately told comic monologue.
“Everything I love about solo shows is wrapped up in 10 Dates with Mad Mary,” says director Kathryn MacMillan, “Mary forms a real connection with the audience, there are sharp comic turns, and several characters for the actor to play. Solo work is a meaty challenge for an actor, and I’m thrilled to be working with Anna, a former student of mine and one of Philadelphia’s most thrilling young performers. She captures Mary’s energy with such a playful, impish spirit.”
Inis Nua’s A Pop-Up Play in a Pub is a popular event with regulars and new-comers alike. Beer and a British-style hand pie, included in the ticket price, accompany what is always a good time upstairs at Fergie’s Pub. Audiences can expect a hilarious, sometimes shocking night at the pub while also being surprised at just how much heart Mary really has. Coupled with drinks and good food, it’s a great way to welcome the colder nights of late fall.
10 Dates with Mad Mary was first produced by Calipo Theatre Company, Ireland, and premiered at the Droichead Arts Centre in 2009. The play was adapted for the screen in 2016 by Darren and Colin Thornton for Element productions (and titled A Date For Mad Mary).
The Edinburgh Reporter called the play’s original production, “Fast-paced and riveting. This is a show you do not want to forget about.” British Theatre Review says, “There is not one false note in the play or production.” With its solo performance nature “Akram’s narration doesn’t attempt many games with language,” says the Irish times about the plays writer, “she knows her way around a good gag and how to ration out narrative, when to conceal or divulge.”
Playwright Yasmine Akram is known as a writer, director and actor and is perhaps most well known for her role as Janine Hawkins in the third series of BBC’s Sherlock.
Director Kathryn MacMillan returns to Inis Nua after having directed Little Gem, the first Inis Nua play helmed by an artist other than the company’s Founder Tom Reing. A veteran director of more than 50 shows in the Philadelphia region, off-Broadway and beyond, MacMillan has been a frequent director of solo plays, including one-person shows for Delaware Theatre Company, InterAct, Lantern Theater Company, Theatre Horizon, and Tiny Dynamite.
Star Anna Faye Lieberman (she/they) is a scrappy, orange, queer, theatre artist bopping between NYC and Philly. Passionate about the development of new works and the subversion of classics, they are a grounded storyteller with deep roots, who helps shape characters with her expansive, wacky imagination and love for deep investigation of the human experience. They are intent on bringing out your inner weirdo. Regional appearances include Rapunzel/Milky White/Cinderella’s Mother in Into the Woods (Arden Theatre Co.); Carroll County Fix (Azuka Theatre); Understudy in Mr. Burns (Wilma Theatre); Peaceable Kingdom (Orbiter 3); Cowboy Bob, Marie In Tomorrow Land (Polyphone Festival); The Wild Party (University of the Arts). Film: Help Me Mary (Black Radish Films). Anna Faye Lieberman holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Class of 2020 (University of the Arts). @annaliebz www.annafayelieberman.com
Assistant Director Paige Whitman (they/them) is a Philly based theatre artist and actor. Recent theatre credits include Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream with The Farm Hill Players, Crash in Carroll County Fix with Azuka Theatre, assistant to director Tom Reing with Inis Nua for A Holy Show.
Stage managing the show is Eilis Skamarakas (she/her) who has worked in stage management at Hedgerow, Azuka, Swarthmore Players Club, and has studied technical theatre at Rutgers University. Anna Sorrentino (she/her), a Philadelphia-based costume designer, stage manager, performer, and theatre artist, is designing the costumes for this production. Nick Seymour (he/him), general manager of Inis Nua Theatre Company who’s technical theatre credits include productions with the Mask and Wig Club and the Swarthmore Player Club, is the sound designer.
Aileen & Leo Conway provide support for this production as Executive Producers and the Abstract Company provides support at the Producer level.
This production will be held privately upstairs at Fergie’s Pub and will follow the requirements of State and Local Health officials rules for bars and restaurants as well as any additional precautions enforced by management of Fergie’s Pub. Though we hope you have received recommended vaccinations and boosters, we will not be requiring proof of vaccination for this production. Food and drink will be served but we strongly recommend audiences to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking.
Next, Inis Nua will open it’s Queer Connections Reading Series with Love Song to Lavender Menace at 7:00 PM on November 14th. From playwright James Ley, This play centers on the final night of existence of the beloved Edinburgh Lesbian and Gay bookstore, The Lavender Menace. Through two soon-to-be-ex employees, we celebrate and examine life in Edinburgh in the stolid 1980s. This reading series, which includes How to Keep an Alien on March 13th and Offside on May 15th will present staged readings of three stories spanning the past four decades, from the 1980s to today. All Readings are performed at the Proscenium Theatre at the Drake and are free to attend.
The season then continues with a Mainstage production of Meet Me At Dawn by Zinnie Harris and directed by Sam Tower. It will run from February 15 to March 5 at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake and single tickets of season subscriptions can be purchased by visiting https://inisnuatheatre.org/box-office