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    2008-2009 reviews:
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      Emilita and the Faery Glen
    See Emilita play

    The beautiful faery tale "Emilita" is part theatrical poem, part theater, influenced by the beat poets and harkening further back to a whimsical Irish tradition.


    "And Emilita on her blade of grass driven by the thunderous wind is sitting in the belly of the Faery Glen with her new born wild child and the Seagod of Small Creatures."

    Written and directed by: Imelda O'Reilly.
    Cast: Amy Cox, Imelda O'Reilly, George Heslin, John O'Callaghan, Karen Frazier, Michael Lopez, Robert Caccomo, Laura Taylor.
    "Emilita and The Faery Glen" now playing at the CSV arts complex on the Lower East Side is the second production written and directed by Irish poet Imelda O'Reilly to be produced by the Daedalus Theatre Company. O'Reilly is perhaps best known as part of the arts collaborative "The Banshees," a group of Irish women writers, actors and singers who have appeared together in shows throughout New York. Her poem play "Faz in Ate" premiered at CSV last year. "Emilita" first debuted as reading in June 2000 during the annual Bloomsday Festival at Symphony Space and was broadcast on WNYC.

    While influenced by the style of the American beat poets, "Emilita" draws from a distinctly Irish vernacular, reaching back into mythic Celtic folklore, going far deeper than the Anglo-Irish tradition that most Americans identify with today. The half-hour piece takes place in the Faery Glen — "Ohhhh to go to the Faery Glen, the wild with child Faery Glen, where the trees sleep gold and the grass never grows old." Filled with traditional imagery like harps, warriors, the sea and its gods, the poem creates a picture of the Irish flag with its green, white and gold references to snow, grass, golden trees, honey and sun.

    The staging of the poem is imaginative and childlike in its believable creation of an alternate reality. Whimsical, furry, shiny costumes with colorful sparkling makeup transform some of New York's most talented Irish performers into creatures from the Faery Glen: John O'Callaghan (The Irish Rep) and George Heslin (The Roundabout) are particularly engaging in their matching silver wetsuits.

    The story is told in words, music and dance. Emilita is pregnant with the wild child by the King of the Mist. This secretly begotten child causes a war amongst the various creatures competing for Emilita's attention. Expressively choreographed by Amy Cox, who also plays a beguiling Emilita, the action takes place on a bare white stage with fluorescent quotes from the poem scrawled on the back wall. The cast members repeatedly transform themselves into angels, faeries and warriors as expert in depicting both battle scenes on the water and orgies in the Glen. The passionate original score by Joel Diamond perfectly paces the piece and, together with the many-hued lighting effects, further enhances the onstage fantasy of the faery world.

    APRIL 5, 2001

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