By Karen Daly

Our October 7 Salon at Bar Thalia had a small but enthusiastic turnout. Warmly hosted by Guenevere Donohue, the night featured tributes to the great Irish playwright, Brian Friel, who died this month.

Three new presenters joined us. First time presenter, Bethann Talty was “…awed by the talent and passion of last night’s fellow readers.”


Guenevere Donohue

In the first Friel tribute, Guenevere Donohue opened with a piece from “Dancing at Lughnasa.” The character Michael talks about ‘things becoming what they ought not to be” and Guen talked about the  “ought not” of a world without Brian Friel.

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Michael Fitzpatrick with Malachy McCourt

We welcomed new member Michael Fitzpatrick, who wrote the award-winning short play “Counting Apples.” He presented three short pieces from his ongoing “Humans of Irish America” series, a satirical, fictional take on immigrants’ stories. Find “Humans of Irish America,” as well as his other works, on his website,

Actor/playwright DJ Sharp has performed parts of his monologue about the last days of Tennessee Williams, “Return to Tennessee.” Tonight he gave a vivid portrayal of the closeted Williams haunted by what critics called his pet themes of alcoholism, insanity and incest.


Bethann Talty

Writer Bethann Talty called her night a “welcoming maiden voyage” at the Salon.  She read a deeply felt essay reflecting on her need to write – and run – and examine her Irishness in the aftermath of 9/11.


Jennifer Margaret Kelly

Jennifer Margaret Kelly found IAW&A after seeing Pat Fenton’s “Stoop Dreamer” at The Cell. A playwright/poet/writer/film-maker, Jennifer adds that she’s a bit of an Irish dancer and visual artist. We could relate to her poem “Poet’s Chair” about needing the right tools. She read a short creative non-fiction piece titled “Ode to Joy.”

Actor Rosina Fernhoff honored Brian Friel by reading the role of Grace from his play “Faith Healer.” Creating a stunning collage from Grace’s monologue, she told the arc of Grace’s story through her relationship with her husband Frank, the faith healer. Rosina’s solo performance of the play, “Snow People” by Av Inlender, her late husband, will be video taped this month.  She performed part of his play “Shadows” at The Cell.

Joe Davidson read a humorous excerpt from his yet untitled novel- in- progress about the life of the fictional Gerry Walker. In this excerpt set in the 1960s, Gerry meets his new friend Stanley Wolinski on the playground of his grammar school. He watches Stanley in awe as the rebellious youth lights up a cigarette stolen from his father. Stanley starts chocking and gagging but remains undeterred, as he attempts to smoke the entire cigarette. Joe was glad his piece met with plenty of laughs and a rousing applause.


Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant read another section of her riveting memoir, Heartlands of Islam. This section describes her experiences being caged in Pakistan. Her crime? Being a female of the species.


Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence

Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence read from her novel in progress, and is buoyed by the encouragement she received from Salon goers.

Host Guenevere Donohue bookended the night with a beautiful piece from the close of Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa” where he describes memory as movement. “Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary.” 

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Malachy McCourt, Bethann, Michael, and Guen

The man himself, Malachy McCourt is back in fighting form after an absence this summer. He offered the group advice on a variety of topics. One piece which he claims not to use himself:  “In case of doubt, do the right thing.”   Malachy always does right thing for IAW&A.

See you on Monday at the O’Neill Award for Patricia Harty!

Join us at Bar Thalia on Election Day Tuesday, November 3 at 6pm!