Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 11:58 AM
Last week, Irish playwright Enda Walsh's The New Electric Ballroom opened to rave reviews at St. Ann's Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I fell in love with Walsh's work reading his first play, Disco Pigs, while living in Cork City, Ireland. Walsh isn't just a playwright, but a wordsmith in the truest sense; he blasts language to pieces and then re-invents it. In Disco Pigs, Walsh synthesized Cork slang and poetic puns into a new language for two wild best friends, Pig and Runt, creating 'a whirl dat no one can live sept us two.'
Walsh has won tons of awards in Ireland and the UK, including three Edinburgh Fringe Firsts. Now, with the American premiere of The New Electric Ballroom, New Yorkers are lucky enough to get a taste of his brutal, beautiful work first hand.
The story takes place in a small fishing village on the west coast of Ireland, where three sisters, Breda, Ada, and Clara, attempt to resolve the traumas of their past. In Beckett-like fashion, two of the sisters spend night after night re-living a single memory from the 1960s, when they went to the New Electric Ballroom to hear a famous rock singer and left with broken hearts. The sisters appear trapped in their past until a fisherman arrives who might break the endless hold of memory.
Although themes of memory and transformation are part of the stock in trade of Irish drama, Walsh has created a linguistic 'whirl' all his own. You won't find anything else like this on either side of the Atlantic – so if you’re in town, be sure to get your tickets before it closes November 22!