by Mary Lannon
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Tuesday night’s salon at the Cell drew an unusually large number of theater artists along with a film maker, a comedian, a singer and several writers to the latest edition of the always lively bimonthly Irish Writers and Artists event.
Playwright Pat Fenton led off the evening with part of his play called Jack’s Last Call Say Goodbye to Kerouac. It’s Jack Kerouac’s last night in Northport, Long Island, the eve of a dreaded move to St Petersburg, Florida with his mother. He spends this last night drinking and thinking back to all his young years out on the road and the America he saw then. And he realizes that it’s slowly vanishing. The play has been at the Boston Playwright’s Theater and in Jack Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell and Pat hopes to bring it to New York.
Jack Dimonte and Nancy Oda in Sheila Walsh’s, “Books”
Playwright Sheila Walsh’s ten-minute play “Books” featured IAW&A members and actors Nancy Oda, Jack DiMonte and Sarah Fearon. The drama takes place in December 1941 in Paris; a German Officer approaches Sylvia Beach and demands her only copy of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
Actor Patrick Ssenjovu amazed the crowd, performing a work-in-progress about a South African painter of flowers on rocks, called The Young Wanderer.
Christy Jones and Cast
D J Sharp
Actor D J Sharp gave a chilling depiction of Tennessee Williams during the last three days of his life.
Nancy Oda gave her second performance of the night in a monologue called “Have I Got a Story” written by Tom Mahon from his collection: Tomorrow Never Came. The main character, a young woman, has moved with her husband and baby to NYC from West Texas. An elderly ballerina’s obsession with the couple’s baby is the central focus of the strange story the main character tells, ending the monologue with the line, “Is that some story?”
Actor and comedian Sarah Fearon also returned a second time to the stage to do a set of her comedy. She asks members to pencil in the date of April 12 at the Irish Arts Center where she will be performing on the bill of IAC’s Sunday’s at Seven monthly comedy event.
Filmmaker Iris Park showed her short film called “Darren and Lisa” based on a short story she co-wrote of the same name. Written, directed and produced by Iris Park. Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The film follows a young couples search for love and the geographical and personal obstacles they face.
Darren and Lisa
Singer Ryan Cahill, being passionate about the history of the traditional folk songs she performs, gave a brief history lesson to end the night. She examined the relation between the obscure Scottish Ballad, “The Elfin Knight”, and the well-known English Ballad, “Scarborough Faire”. She, of course, sang both for emphasis.
Two prose writers and a poet gave readings from their work.
Returning to the salon for the first time in a long while, Christy Kelly, read from his novel in progress.
Also returning after a absence of a few months, Megan O’Donnell, poet and lyricist for the psychedelic rock band, Sofus, shared a selection of politically charged poems and imaginative soon-to-be songs. The works she read ranged from a call to action against the persistent societal ills of racism and sexism to a morbid but insightful look at the side effects of being a living being. She ended the performance with a Haiku she wrote earlier that week, which sums up her current complex relationship with hope, ambition, and reality. It reads:
Our talented host John Kearns read the conclusion of the story he presented at the last salon. The excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, tells of college student Paul Logan’s procrastination as he types a research paper while watching the live broadcast of, “The Mystery of Henry Ford’s Secret Underground Chamber.” At the end of the broadcast, the TV host has found nothing in the chamber except another wall, and Paul has typed only two pages.
See you at Bar Thalia on Thursday, February 5th, at 6 pm for our next IAW&A Salon!