The Directors of Scena Theatre continue their 34th Season in Washington with Three by Yeats by William Butler Yeats (Ireland). This delightful and entertaining show features drama, music and song while showcasing three of Yeats’ most acclaimed plays, At the Hawk’s Well, Purgatory and The Death of Cuchulain.
PERFORMANCES: May 11 – June 4 (Thurs. – Sat. 7:00 pm | Sun. 3:00 pm)
Venue: DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW Washington, DC, 20009
At the Hawk’s Well is a one-act play first performed in 1916. It is one of five plays by Yeats which are loosely based on the stories of Cuchulain the mythological hero of ancient Ulster. It was the first play written in English that employed features of the Japanese Noh Theatre.
The Death of Cuchulain is a poem depicting a series of events that bring in Cuchulain’s wife, Emer, and son Finmole. Emer sends her son to confront and fight her husband after getting news that he is with another woman who is described as “young and sweet”. Purgatory is a drama by Yeats that was first presented in at the historic Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1938, a few months before Yeats’ death.
Purgatory is a drama that tells a family saga of decline and fall via an Old Man (the father) and a Boy (his 16-year-old son). It is set outside the former family home—which the Old Man’s father had drunkenly burned down—leading him to kill his father as the building perished. The Boy is skeptical and repelled by the story of losing his own mother as she gave birth to him and the family’s subsequent decline.
Scena has a rich history of staging Irish dramas by many great writers featuring both local and global talent. In past productions, director Robert McNamara has flown in actors from around the globe to perform in roles that require an authentic accent or characterization. A few include Ireland’s Barry McEvoy (Public Enemy, The Weir and The Night Alive), Scotland’s Gordon Fulton (The Weir) and Brian Mallon from Wales (The Weir, The Night Alive, The Seafarer and Playing Burton). Three by Yeats is a crash course in the depth and beauty of the writings of W.B Yeats. Patrons will savor the beautiful language and remember it long after leaving the theatre.”