Bottom Dog’s bite of the Big Apple

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by Rose Rushe

Mayor Jerry O'Dea with Robert/ Diana on poster; actor Myles Breen; festival founder George Heslin at #limerick2020 Mike Fitzpatrick. Culture Connect Limerick will be a new advocacy facilitator of international scale
Mayor Jerry O’Dea with Robert/ Diana on poster; actor Myles Breen; festival founder George Heslin and #limerick2020 Mike Fitzpatrick. Culture Connect Limerick will be a new advocacy facilitator of international scale Photo: Ian Collins

 

LIMERICK’s Bottom Dog Theatre company is set to make its international debut at a festival in Manhattan as part of a cultural initiative linking Limerick with New York.

Culture Connect Limerick is the brainchild of George Heslin, a Limerick man who established the Origin Theatre Company in New York. He is also the driving force behind Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival which brings the work of Irish and European playwrights to the New York stage.

Bottom Dog’s award winning ’Language Unbecoming a Lady’ will be staged at the Cell Theatre, from September 1 to 27 in Manhattan. Written and performed by Myles Breen, directed and produced by Liam O’Brien, it has toured 22 venues in Ireland to rave reviews.

A €50 a head fundraiser will be held on Thursday August 27 in Limerick’s Lime Tree Theatre to help meet the costs associated with the New York shows, with two performances, ‘Language Unbecoming’ and later in Dolan’s, ‘The Diva Diana Show’ – punning on the character’s drag-queen alter ego.

Myles Breen at the launch of 'Bachelor of Kilkish', written by him  2014
Myles Breen at the launch of ‘Bachelor of Kilkish’, written by him 2014

Lime Tree Theatre’s board member, Dr Mike Finneran of Mary Immaculate College, will host an on-site wine reception prior to Breen’s show to round out the fundraiser.

Heslin, who is on the board of Bottom Dog, told the press reception in No. 1 Pery Hotel that he set up Origins In 2002 in New York as he felt there was a lack of contemporary European theatre there.

“I took a risk with a playwright no one had heard of then, Enda Walsh and since then, the festival has represented 150 playwrights”, he explained.

Paul Meade, founder of Gúna Nua and a Limerick man, has been invited over with his award winning show, ‘Pondling’ by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman.

Heslin is a graduate of the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College and New York’s HB Studio. His own directing credits include ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, ‘Crestfall’ and the Belgian premiere of ‘Stones in His Pockets’.

Diana, 'the lady' who is Robert's inner diva; Myles Breen directed by Liam O'Brien
Diana, ‘the lady’ who is Robert’s inner diva; Myles Breen directed by Liam O’Brien

As an actor, he completed the Broadway national tour of ‘Stones in His Pockets’ and has appeared in many off-Broadway productions including ‘Juno and The Paycock’ and ‘The Colleen Bawn’.

His many awards include The Irish Examiner/New York Irish Man of The Year Award 2011, The American Dance Federation Cultural Leader Award and The New York City Council Award for his dedication to theatre.

Over the past seven years, Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival has presented scores of Irish playwrights to US audiences who might not otherwise have been exposed to their work.