Surround Events Discussions last approximately 50 minutes and are open to the public free of charge.
The Observer, reviewing a rare British revival in 1992 described THE MADRAS HOUSE as a “brilliant… electrifying play” on the subjects of “sex, shopping and social embarrassment.”
An opportunity to take a peek inside the process and ask questions of the producer and director.
The Financial Times critic Alastair Macauley admitted, “No brief newspaper review can convey the way this play’s detail becomes so enthralling. I had not seen it before. Hours after I am still electrified. No British play of this century has so excited me.”
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 following the matinee John P. Harrington on St. John Ervine and the Theatre Guild Harrington has written extensively on Irish literature and culture, including The Irish Play on the New York Stage (1997). He edited W. W. Norton’s anthology Modern Irish Drama (1991). His new work includes a book, The Life of the Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street, and, as editor, Irish Theater in America, in press. SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 following the matinee Charlotte Moore on Irish Theater
By St. John Ervine w Directed By Martin Platt Robertson Carricart Joyce Cohen John Keating Terrence Markovich Mark Saturno Justin Schultz Greg Thornton Marion Wood
THE MADRAS HOUSE by Harley Granville-Barker In February, Mint will present Harley Granville-Barker’s brilliant 1909 comedy THE MADRAS HOUSE which has been seen only once in New York. In 1921 it was presented by the Neighborhood Playhouse for 80 performances.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 following the matinee Artistic Director Jonathan Bank and members of the creative team will take your questions.
Artistic Director Jonathan Bank presents
COMING TO THE MINT: February 2nd thru March 11th
FIRST PRIORITY CLUB MEMBERS ONLY: Order your tickets today! 212-315-0231 Performances February 2nd thru March 11th For more information about joining the First-Priority Club, call 212-315-0231.
REUNION READING: October 23rd, 2006 In 1999 Mint first called attention to the neglected genius of Harley Granville-Barker with our New York Premiere of his 1905 masterpiece, THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE. First presented as a showcase for 20 sold-out performances; we brought the production back in January 2000 for an off-Broadway run of nine weeks which also played to packed houses every night.
Moore is the Artistic Director of New York’s own Irish Repertory Theatre. Recognized with a special Drama Desk Award for “Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish Drama,” and the Lucille Lortel Award for “Outstanding Body of Work,” the Irish Repertory Theatre has celebrated the very best in Irish theatre for eighteen years
“Few theatrical works so shrewdly raise profound questions about the role of ordinary morality in the making of money, and none in English does it with such elegance and wit,” is what The New York Times wrote in their review of our production: “A playwright and a company can’t do much better.”
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 following the matinee Martin Meisel on Ervine and his contemporaries
On Monday, October 23rd the original Mint cast will read the play that Michael Billington of The Guardian described as “one of the great English plays of the century.”
Meisel is the Brander Matthews Professor of Dramatic Literature Emeritus at Columbia University and the author of Shaw and 19th Century Theater. Post-show discussion performances sell out first. Call 212-315-0231 for more information or to book your seats.
Performance at 7:30, Mint Theater. Tickets $25 Call 212-315-0231 Today! Or join us for dinner and a pre-show conversation about Granville-Barker and his brilliant play. Le Madeleine at 6:00. Tickets $85
Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday at 7pm Friday-Saturday at 8pm & Saturday-Sunday at 2pm
How to purchase your tickets for JOHN FERGUSON
• By Mail or In-Person: Mint Theater Company (No Service Charges) 311 West 43rd Street, Ste. #307 New York, NY 10036 • By Phone: (212) 315-0231 ($2.50 per ticket service charge will apply)
To order tickets call (212) 315-0231 Or visit our on-line Box Office: W W W. M I N T T H E AT E R . O R G SETS
Mattie Ullrich Jeff Nellis Lindsay Jones Judi Guralnick Amy Stoller Stuart Howard, Amy Schecter & Paul Hardt Heather Prince Kimberly Ann McCann Sherri Kotimsky David Gersten & Associates Jude Dvorak COSTUMES
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Beginning Sept. 5:
Monday - Saturday 12 - 6 pm Sunday 12 - 3 pm
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Sept. 8-24 x $35 = $45 Sept. 27-Oct. 15 I am also including a tax-deductible contribution
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P E R F O R M A N C E S AT M I N T T H E AT E R 3 1 1 W E S T 4 3 R D S T R E E T, 3 R D F L O O R
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JOHN FERGUSON tells the story of a poor and pious farmer in Ulster County, Ireland, unable to keep up with his mortgage payments and threatened with eviction. He has great faith in the Lord–and the mail boat from America, which he expects will bring salvation in the form of a loan from his brother. When the postman is empty handed, a devastating chain of events are unleashed on this humble man’s family that tests his faith to its limits.
“For those who care for what is rarest and best in the art of the drama and the theater, it is an occasion not to be missed.” (The New York Times, 1919)
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“A Smashing Play” “For those who care for what is rarest and best in the art of the drama and of the theater,” wrote The New York Times in 1919 when this powerful and haunting drama from Ireland was first presented, “it is an occasion not to be missed.”
By St. John Ervine
“A Smashing Play” (The New York Times, 1919)
MINT THEATER COMPANY: LOST PLAYS FOUND HERE The award-winning Mint has brought you lost treasures such as: Susan and God, The Daughter-in-Law, Far and Wide and Echoes of the War.
Set in a rundown farmhouse in County Down, this unassuming play wrings powerful feelings from a familiar story. John Ferguson is an ailing farmer unable to make his mortgage payments; his son is intended for the church but forced to work the land and his daughter a beautiful young girl who might save the farm by marrying the man she loathes. “Great passions heave and burst forth from beneath the quiet surface of life in this farmer’s cottage,” wrote the Times, “Beginning with the fear of an unpaid mortgage and a threatened eviction, we progress to the assault of a young girl, the murder of the money lender who has committed the crime and the soul struggle of her younger brother…There is a working of fierce, primitive passions.” In charting the decline of one humble family, Ervine crafted a universal tragedy that struck deep and resonant chords with audiences. Originally scheduled for just five performances by the fledgling Theatre Guild, JOHN FERGUSON ran for 130, confounding the pessimists who believed that theatergoers had no appetite for serious drama. During the extended run the Times brought on a new theater critic, the legendary Alexander Woollcott, who echoed the sentiments of his predecessor: “Any playgoer who enjoys an engrossing human story artfully told and dramatically unfolded is missing the time of his life if he does not go to see JOHN FERGUSON. It is so packed with all of the stuff that has ever thrilled an audience that the mild surprise its success has caused is a little puzzling.... St. John Ervine has written a smashing play.” JOHN FERGUSON’s American success inspired a London production the following year. The reaction in London was as vigorous
and heartfelt as in New York, with several critics commenting on the audience’s “boisterous enthusiasm” (“seldom so involuntary and sincere in an English theater.”) The Times called the play “most affecting” and wrote, “The applause last night was so unusually violent, so explosive, as to indicate an exceptional degree of emotional susceptibility in that quarter of town.” The Daily Express said that “it deserves to be seen by every playgoer in London who cares for good drama.” The Evening Standard called the play, “wise and moving, and often strangely beautiful….This play reveals the aspiration of a discerning and sensitive mind to deal fairly with good and evil.” Highest praise of all came from the Morning Post, whose headline proclaimed JOHN FERGUSON “A Great Play” and its author “the most considerable dramatist of the day.”
“Wise and moving, and often strangely beautiful.” JOHN FERGUSON was produced by the Theatre Guild, a young organization determined to produce plays of artistic merit and hoping to save the American theater from the forces of commercialism which threatened it. The directors of the Guild resolved to produce only “plays which it believed had something to say and which said it well.” It is no exaggeration to say that JOHN FERGUSON helped to reinvent American theater On opening night the Guild had less than $20 left in their bank account, but the success of the play saved the Theatre Guild from bankruptcy, paving the way for their landmark work. From its inception in 1918 to the 1960’s, the Guild provided an American home for ground-breaking writers, directors, actors and designers as well as for audiences hungry for thoughtful, provocative and nourishing drama. By producing challenging plays and encouraging new writers, the Guild helped to establish a new standard of excellence in the American theater. Mint Theater begins a three-year initiative celebrating the important work of the Theater Guild with this production of JOHN FERGUSON: “An occasion not to be missed!”
St. John Greer Ervine was born in 1883 in Ballymacarrett, a suburb of Belfast. He developed an early interest in theatre despite the objections of his family. In 1900, Ervine moved to London, where he found work as an insurance clerk. He joined the Fabian Society where George Bernard Shaw encouraged him to write; he penned novels and short stories, but it would be his plays that would bring him the most fame. Critics heralded Ervine’s frank realism and emotional honesty, a style which contrasted with the dreamlike symbolism many associated with Irish drama. In 1915, Ervine returned to Dublin to manage the Abbey Theatre, which was the center of new Irish drama. Ervine’s indifference to the burgeoning Irish Renaissance offended the company and he lasted only eight months. During his brief tenure there he produced several of his own plays, including JOHN FERGUSON (1915), later regarded as his masterpiece. Ervine had hoped JOHN FERGUSON would transfer to London, but the escalation of World War postponed his dream. Disappointed, Ervine decided to enlist. A battle at Nieppe left him so badly wounded that his right leg was amputated. After the war, Ervine attacked theatre managers for spoon-feeding audiences “decadent” frivolity. In his new role as drama critic for the London Observer, he campaigned for more “intelligent and sincere drama,” arguing that postwar audiences sought genuine sentiment which mirrored their own experience. He was vindicated by the unexpected success of JOHN FERGUSON in New York. Ervine had become a trans-Atlantic phenomenon. He continued his success as a playwright, scoring several West End hits throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In 1937, Ervine was made President of the League of British Dramatists. In his the final years, he received many honors, including membership in the Irish Academy. After his wife’s death, Ervine retired to a Sussex nursing home. He died in 1971.
Tickets only $35 For preview performances: September 6th thru September 24th
“An occasion not to be missed.” 311 W. 43rd Street Suite #307 New York, NY 10036 www.minttheater.org
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By St. John Ervine Directed by Martin Platt