McPherson-Directed Eden Cancels Arts SeasonDate: 13 December 2001
The Abbey Theatre production of Eugene O'Brien's first play Eden, directed by fellow Irish playwright Conor McPherson (pictured), has withdrawn plans for a West End transfer in the new year. The production was scheduled to open a ten-week season at the Arts Theatre on 25 February 2002.
Performed as a series of monologues, Eden chronicles a troubled weekend in the lives of married couple, Breda and Billy, who hold conflicting ideas of heaven on earth. Breda desperately wants her husband to come home and tell her how much he loves her. But Billy has just one thought on his mind - lust, and it doesn't involve his wife.
The two-hander, which premiered last year at the Abbey in Dublin where it is receiving a second run this Christmas, stars Catherine Walsh and Don Wycherley. However, due to other commitments, Wycherley is now unavailable for the London dates and producers are reticent about recasting.
For British theatregoers, the prospect of the production was perhaps most attractive, not for the cast or author, but for its director. McPherson is best known for his hit Irish ghost story play, The Weir, which ran several times in London at the Royal Court and Duke of York's on its way to winning two Olivier Awards (Best New Play and Best Supporting Actor) and transferring to Broadway. His other plays include This Lime Tree Bower, St Nicholas and Dublin Carol.
McPherson's first major directorial project came with his own Port Authority, a series of three overlapping monologues which ran earlier this year at the West End's New Ambassadors Theatre. Port Authority has just been nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best New Play (click here to vote). Eden would have marked McPherson's second major West End outing with his director's hat on.
It's uncertain what will now fill the vacancy in the Arts Theatre's schedule, though there's a possibility that Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, performed by a changing trio of female celebrities, will receive another extension. The show transferred from the nearby New Ambassadors in October and was meant to close at the Arts Theatre on 23 February in order to make way for the Abbey production.
- by Terri Paddock