By Karen Daly
Photos by Christopher Booth and Cat Dwyer
The audience at the first October IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia was rewarded with mighty performances. First time host and frequent contributor Tom Mahon presided easily over a bill of stunning monologues, new fiction, an essay and phenomenal spoken word poetry.
Tom Mahon warms up the crowd
Musical interludes were supplied by actor and singer Annalisa Chamberlin who performed a selection of contemporary and classical songs, including “Songs My Mother Taught Me” by Antonin Dvorák in her lovely soprano.
We had a mostly male slate, and many stories about, well, men. Mark Donnelly’s original story/monologue “Pale Green Walls” is about a middle-aged man who moves upstate from Long Island after getting divorced. Alone, he faces a new job and a new life. In Mark’s effective telling, the audience saw the pale green walls in his empty apartment.
Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read three pieces from a series he’s calling “The Dick Monologues,” the message being “Love may be true; lust is ever fickle.” He also gave an original bawdy limerick, especially for the man from Limerick, Malachy McCourt.
Gordon Gilbert, Jr.
Jack DiMonte chose a monologue from David Mamet’s Oleanna. A college professor on the verge of receiving much-coveted tenure must deal with an obstacle, an ambiguous charge of harassment from a female student. Jack portrayed him trying to reason, cajole and finally pleading with her to withdraw her complaint.
In an explosive monologue, actor Thom Molyneaux took Eddie Harrington, a Vietnam vet with a devastating secret, from the pages of Tom Mahon’s new play Closing Civelli’s to the mini-stage of the Thalia. Explosive performance, too, notes the author Tom Mahon. “I can’t believe what he did with the character I wrote.”
In the fiction department, two Salon regulars shared new installments of work-in-progress. Short story writer and novelist Kevin R. McPartland read from Brooklyn Rhapsody. In a brief, entertaining piece, he described a relationship about to go on the rocks in newly gentrified Park Slope, Brooklyn. Kevin appreciated its enthusiastic reception.
IAW&A Board member John Kearns read from his novel, Worlds. Nora Logan, mother of Reverend Sarsfield Logan, S.J., tells how she came to America from County Cork and it’s a clever story. Unwilling to go along with an arranged marriage, the young Nora asked for a bicycle as an engagement present and then she cycled to Dublin and boarded a boat to New York.
Another work-in-progress was a candid, thought-provoking essay by IAW&A Board member Brendan Costello Jr. In “On Making an Entrance,” Brendan writes about Boris, a friend who had a huge impact on his adjustment to living life in a wheelchair.
Marty Mulligan from Mullingar, storyteller and spoken word artist, was visiting New York and performing poetry in America for the first time. Salon producer John Kearns invited him to the Salon, and result was thrilling: two spoken word pieces, rhythmic and furiously fast. “My Idea of Poetry” explains what poetry means to him and “I’m Sorry” explains what to do when arguing with a loved one, namely apologize for everything. Marty sends his thanks for “a great night’s entertainment” and hopes to return and perform stories from Ancient Ireland.
Malachy McCourt summed up the night with his appreciation for all those “words” and added a few of his own, with hilarious stories from the Irish courts. He sang us out with “I Don’t Work for A Living.”
We’re counting down to the big night Monday, October 17, when Malachy receives IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award. Don’t miss this event. Get your tickets now
And see you next WEDNESDAY, October 19 at The Cell, 7pm
Scene at the Thalia