Inis Nua Theatre Company will open its 19th season with the American premiere of 10 Dates With Mad Mary, written by Irish-Pakistani playwright Yasmine Akram. This comedy play tells the story of Mary McArdle, an antisocial young woman trying to find a date for her best friend’s wedding. This raucous one-woman show marks the return of Inis Nua’s Pop-Up Play in a Pub, a popular event with Inis Nua regulars and newcomers alike. 10 Dates will be directed by Kathryn MacMillan and stars Anna Faye Lieberman as Mad Mary. Tickets include a pie made by Stargazy on East Passyunk and a cold pint from the team behind the bar at Fergie’s Pub. The show runs from October 26, 2022 until November 6, for a total of eight performances. All performances will take place upstairs at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street. Tickets are on sale now for $30 by calling (215) 454-9776 or visiting inisnuatheatre.org.
“I first read 10 Dates for Mad Mary on a train and had to quiet myself from laughing, so I wouldn’t disturb the other passengers,” said Inis Nua’s Interim Artistic Director Charlotte Northeast. “Mad Mary isn’t someone you necessarily want to hang out with, but once she starts talking you can’t look away. And she has a really deep core.”
Once known as the best fighter in her hometown of Drogheda, ‘Mad Mary’ has emerged from prison slightly older and wiser–she’s the ripe old age of 25. She finds herself needing a date to her best friend’s wedding and enlists the help of a speed dating service to find one. At times foul-mouthed and aggressively funny, Mary embarks on a journey to find a date – and perhaps herself. Mary is one of those girls with a talent for ruining whatever good things come her way, which lends the play its big laughs, unexpected moments, and powerful emotional turns. Fans of Inis Nua’s past solo plays such as Finding Fassbender, How To Be Brave, and A Hundred Words for Snow, will find much to enjoy in this intimately told comic monologue.
“Everything I love about solo shows is wrapped up in 10 Dates with Mad Mary,” says director Kathryn MacMillan, “Mary forms a real connection with the audience, there are sharp comic turns, and several characters for the actor to play. Solo work is a meaty challenge for an actor, and I’m thrilled to be working with Anna, a former student of mine and one of Philadelphia’s most thrilling young performers. She captures Mary’s energy with such a playful, impish spirit.”
Inis Nua’s A Pop-Up Play in a Pub is a popular event with regulars and new-comers alike. Beer and a British-style hand pie, included in the ticket price, accompany what is always a good time upstairs at Fergie’s Pub. Audiences can expect a hilarious, sometimes shocking night at the pub while also being surprised at just how much heart Mary really has. Coupled with drinks and good food, it’s a great way to welcome the colder nights of late fall.
10 Dates with Mad Mary was first produced by Calipo Theatre Company, Ireland, and premiered at the Droichead Arts Centre in 2009. The play was adapted for the screen in 2016 by Darren and Colin Thornton for Element productions (and titled A Date For Mad Mary).
The Edinburgh Reporter called the play’s original production, “Fast-paced and riveting. This is a show you do not want to forget about.” British Theatre Review says, “There is not one false note in the play or production.” With its solo performance nature “Akram’s narration doesn’t attempt many games with language,” says the Irish times about the plays writer, “she knows her way around a good gag and how to ration out narrative, when to conceal or divulge.”
Playwright Yasmine Akram is known as a writer, director and actor and is perhaps most well known for her role as Janine Hawkins in the third series of BBC’s Sherlock.
Director Kathryn MacMillan returns to Inis Nua after having directed Little Gem, the first Inis Nua play helmed by an artist other than the company’s Founder Tom Reing. A veteran director of more than 50 shows in the Philadelphia region, off-Broadway and beyond, MacMillan has been a frequent director of solo plays, including one-person shows for Delaware Theatre Company, InterAct, Lantern Theater Company, Theatre Horizon, and Tiny Dynamite.