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.. ........... .....Work created by Kelly Colleen McMahon  

The Cuchulain Cycle
~ presented at the Irish Center - Pittsburgh, PA

The Story of Ireland's Greatest Hero by One of Her Greatest Playwrights

Featuring Corey Rieger as Cuchulain

At the Hawk's Well
Directed by Michael Cassidy

This play very clearly shows Yeats's interest in Japanese Noh theatre as well as the influence of Gordon Craig. A scholar of Japanese theatre, Mike staged the piece using a number of Noh conventions.

First Musician - David Jortner
Second Musician - Betse Lyons
Third Musician - Sean Gray
The Guardian of the Well - Jennifer Julian
An Old Man - Mark C. Thompson
Vocal Score by Brendon Cassidy
Music Direction by James Emmanuel

The Green Helmet
Directed by Lofty Durham

While the story is based upon a similar incident in the life of Cuchulain, Yeats has created a play that also recalls the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Yeats's subtitle for the piece is "A Heroic Farce". Lofty directed it so as to add some levity to what is mostly a serious story of a seemingly invincible warrior.

Laegaire - Devin E. Malcolm
Conall - Ben Blazer
Red Man - Matthew J. Kopans
Emer - Kimberly M. Downes
Fedelm (Laegaire's Wife) - Amy Greer
Lendabair (Conall's Wife) - Ola Creston
Laeg - David Fuchs
Chorus 1 - David Jortner
Chorus 2 - Betse Lyons
Chorus 3 - Sean Gray
Stage Management by Maura Cronin-Jortner

On Baile's Strand
Directed by Kelly Colleen McMahon

This was the first play Yeats wrote of the Cycle, and it shows his penchant for poetic drama. Cuchulain's ges is broken in the prologue, as Kelly saw this as the reason he does not recognize his son. A journey that began At The Hawk's Well ends in this play.

A Blind Man - Mark C. Thompson
A Fool - Vito Ferraro
King Conchubar - Mark C. Thompson
The Druid - Joe McGranaghan
The Young Man - Vito Ferraro
Laegaire - Devin E. Malcolm
Conall - Ben Blazer
Fiacra - Sean Gray

The Only Jealousy of Emer

Directed by Jeffrey M. Cordell

What is the fate of a "great man" and the women who love him if his death comes too soon? Yeats's play offers great tension and vulnerability as the women in Cuchulain's life discover their roles in drawing him home from Death's door. Yeats's dramatic action is split evenly between Cuchulain's wife, Emer, and Cuchulain's mistress, Eithne, as well as between the human world (blood, vows, the memory of life) and the watery spirit world of the Sidhe (lust, beauty, the forgetfulness of death). This production translated these equally footed conflicts into double images, double casting, and a two-woman chorus with split sympathies. This production was also haunted, as was Yeats himself, by both Greek tragedy and Irish mysticism. Jeff wanted Yeats's beautiful poetry, and his fine portrait of a woman wrestling with the cosmos, to haunt the audience after the play was done.

First Chorus - Maura Cronin-Jortner
Second Chorus - Julie Moreau
Ghost Chorus - Stella Strange
The Figure of Cuchulain - Joe McGranaghan
Eithne Inguba/Woman of the Sidhe - Susaan Jamshidi
Movement/Dance Consultant - Mark Chaitin

The Death of Cuchulain

Directed by Kelly Colleen McMahon
Choreography by Maria Caruso

This play was the last Yeats ever wrote and can be seen to reflect his knowledge of his own impending death. Kelly enlisted the talent of Maria Caruso to create a final expression of the relationships between Cuchulain and his mortal loves. Contrasted with these women is the immortal woman who loves him as well. In essence, there was the Morrigu and there was everyone else. At the close of the play, and the Cycle, Kelly has chosen not to see death as an ending. She has instead highlighted specific images in Yeats's text and expanded upon them to illustrate Cuchulain's - and Yeats's - legacy.

The Mortal Women - Maria Caruso
The Voice of Eithne/Fand - Susaan Jamshidi
The Voice of Aoife - Melanie Dreyer
The Blind Man - Mark C. Thompson
. . . and The Morrigu