‘Playboy 100’, hosted by John Kelly on Saturday Jan 27th, featured the television premiere of the acclaimed DruidSynge production of The Playboy of the Western World, as well as two specially commissioned documentaries.
The night began with Playboys and Rebels, a new half-hour documentary which introduced the play itself. It examined the controversy surrounding the play’s first night in January 1907 and how the feelings which surfaced on Abbey Street, 100 years ago, shaped the future of both the Abbey and Irish drama itself.
Playboys and Rebels was followed by the television premiere of the DruidSynge production The Playboy of the Western World, directed by Garry Hynes. Starring Catherine Walsh, Aaron Monaghan, Marie Mullen and Eamon Morrissey, this production forms part of Druid’s acclaimed Synge cycle which premiered at the 2005 Galway Arts Festival, and was followed by performances in Dublin, the Edinburgh International Festival, Inis Meáin and in 2006 with performances at the opening of the new Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and in New York as part of the Lincoln Centre Festival. The production was described by The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood as “….a highlight not just of my theatregoing year, but of my theatregoing life”.
‘Playboy 100’ ends with a second opportunity to see Mighty Talk: A Journey with DruidSynge, the Arts Lives documentary which followed Garry Hynes’ production of Synge’s plays from Galway rehearsal room to acclaim in Dublin, Edinburgh and, in a moving return to the writer’s inspiration, Inis Meain.
In what was a unique undertaking, Wildfire films together with Druid have now recorded all of Synges plays making them available on DVD for the first time ever. Producer Martha O’Neill of Wildfire Films outlined the reasons why they set out to film the performances:
First of all I felt that a production of this scale was remarkable in itself but the fact that it staged the entire canon of a major Irish writer, J.M. Synge raised the stakes completely. To have available on film Synge’s work produced by Druid and directed by Garry Hynes provides current and future audiences access to this material at the highest level. All our financiers, RTE, the Irish Film Board, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, the Arts Council and Culture Ireland recognised the importance and value of this project and supported us in this large-scale endeavour. Martha O’Neill, Producer Wildfire Films
DVD copies of the productions will be available to purchase directly from Wildfire Films from April of this year. For more information visit http://wildfirefilms.net/ or call +353 1 6725553.