1960: Tonight rhe New IRA kidnapped a nineteen-year-old soldier as he was leaving an Armagh Dance Hall. The IRA declares that it will shoot hostage Leslie Williams, if their ‘Belfast Boy’ is executed at Belfast Gaol tomorrow morning.
Wonderland’s site-specific staging of Brendan Behan’s great tragicomedy transforms the birthplace of Padraic Pearse, the martyred leader of the Easter Rising, into the 1960s Dublin brothel-cum-safe house where the IRA hold Leslie Williams hostage – and where you can ‘sit up’ for the night with him. This historic Victorian terrace is home to fallen rebel heroes, homosexual navvies, catholic evangelists, pimps, whores, convent girls and decaying civil servants who are loyal to the nationalist cause. They entertain Private Williams with jigs and reels, romance, rock ‘n’ roll dancing, rebel songs and tales of Ireland’s glorious past, whilst the IRA guards wait for a reprieve from Belfast – or the executions of the coming dawn.
Wonderland’s staging of The Hostage took place from the 21st July to the 16th August 2009 at the James Joyce Centre, Dublin.
RTÉ’s Lyric FM’s Artszone, presented by Aedín Gormley, discusses the show with Alice Coghlan & Morgan Cooke
Newstalk Culture Shock radio show with Tom Dunne interviews Alice Coghlan about The Hostage.
Listen to 2 songs from the show by Morgan Cooke
#1: “We’re Here Because We’re Queer” features Morgan Cooke, Colm O’Brien, Michael Bates & Diana O’Connor.
#2: “Open the Door Softly” features Morgan Cooke and Kerrie O’Sullivan.
Credits: Music is by Morgan Cooke; Roseanne Lynch on Sax and Lyrics by Brendan Behan.
What the Critics Say
“Without any risk of overstatement, Wonderland Productions is a company that is really going places. A plucky, ideas-driven and indefatigable theatre group, they have had no easy access to conventional venues and have learned to improvise handsomely, staging their works in various site-specific venues.” – The Irish Times
“Rarely was a company so aptly named” – Centre Stage, Dublin City FM
“Delivered with such exhilarating enthusiasm” – The Irish Mail on Sunday
“Terrific direction and choreography by Alice Coghlan” – The Sunday Independent
“A worthy triumph of the imagination” – The Sunday Times
“What a great choice of play for Wonderland to take on…the site-specificness is wonderful and the music works so well” -Lyric FM Artszone
“Highly recommended” – Dublin City FM
“One not to miss” – The Independent
From Wonderland Productions Ltd.
Michael Bates, Morgan Cooke, Neill Fleming, Robert Harrington, Roseanne Lynch, Eithne McGuinness, Colm O’Brien, Diana O’Connor, Noel O’Shea, Kerrie O’Sullivan, Martin Philips, Lesa Thurman, Francis Xavier Usanga.
The Production Team:
Director & Choreographer: Alice Coghlan
Producer: Nina Antonioli
Composer: Morgan Cooke
Lyrics by: Brendan Behan
Musical Director: Morgan Cooke
Costume Design: Yvonne Carry & Tara Mulvihill
Set Designer: Nimah Dunphy
Props Designer: Eve Parnell
Hair Dressing: Joan Thorpe
Make-Up: Peter Carroll
Fight Director: Keith Ward
Assistant Musical Director: Stella Konik
Assistant Director: Sarah Finlay
Stage Manager: Siobhan Killen
Assistant Stage Managers: Jean Igoe & Laura Weafer
Company Administration: Grainne Lynch
Photography: Clare Conway
Poster/Flyer, Programme & Web: mongoliandesign.com