With such an emphasis on Irish theater in Washington—between local companies with Emerald Isle leanings and tours booked at the Kennedy Center and University of Maryland—you would think that no Blarney Stone had been left unturned, at least in terms of Irish playwrights. But Garry Hynes, the pioneering Galway-based director who put Enda Walsh and Martin McDonagh on the map, and also staged a global John Millington Synge resurgence, has yet another playwright she’d like to introduce to international audiences: 77-year-old Tom Murphy. “There isn’t anyone writing in Ireland who isn’t influenced by Murphy,” Hynes recently told the New York Times. Yet in North America, his plays are much less familiar than say, works by Brian Friel, Walsh, and McDonagh. The main reason: Murphy’s plotlines are often even bleaker. On this world tour that Hynes calls DruidMurphy, the theater company will present three plays exploring the theme of immigration. Conversations on a Homecoming opens the series tonight, A Whistle in the Dark follows on Thursday, and Famine completes the trio Friday. Then, on Oct. 20, for anyone who would like to ruminate on ruination all day, tickets are available for the nine-hour DruidMurphy marathon. Shots of Jameson, which you might need, are not included.
The plays run Oct. 17-20 at The Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre, 2700 F St. NW. $35–$65. kennedy-center.org. (202) 467-4600.