By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
For poetic impulses and vivid characters, and a certain raucous soulfulness and way with words, you can’t beat the Irish. And Serca (the Gaelic word for “love story) is the festival that celebrates that multi-faceted contribution.
For this year’s edition of the eight-year-old festival — it’s spent the last three on The Ave, 118th that is — artistic director Liz Hobbs has assembled a series of Canadian-Irish plays, in staged readings, to encircle the headline production this weekend. All three are by women and, as Hobbs points out, “try and find an Irish play in the mainstream Irish repertoire by a female playwright with a female cast! It’s hard!”
Bevin Dooley’s Slack Tide happened Thursday. Saturday’s offering (4:45 p.m.) is Beating Heart Cadaver by the Governor-General’s Award-winning Colleen Murphy. Amy DeFelice directs a cast of five top Edmonton actors in the 1998 play — “beautiful and heartbreaking” as Hobbs describes it — in which “a couple who have lost their eight-year-old daughter in a car accident try to find their way back to each other.” Sunday at 6 p.m., it’s Cat Walsh’s Fetch, named for the Gaelic word for doppelganger, in which two versions of the same girl proceed through two different scenarios, by way of different choices.
ELSEWHERE AT SERCA
- St. Patrick’s Day Irish Ceilidh on the Ave (starting at 5 p.m.): a celebration featuring an Irish stew dinner with Knock Irish dancers, followed by a variety cabaret and, at 8 p.m. live music by the Edmonton Ceilidh Band featuring Jeremiah McDade.
- Saturday (1 to 4 p.m.), a Family Irish Ceilidh, including Maralyn Ryan’s puppet version of The Ugly Duckling, dancing, cookie decorating and crafts, refreshments. After the 4:45 p.m. staged reading of Beating Heart Cadaver, a 7 p.m. performance of Waiting For Godot, followed (9:30 p.m.) an Irish cabaret for adults.
- Sunday’s 2 p.m. Waiting For Godot matinee is followed by Fetch (6 p.m.) and then an 8 p.m. performance of Godot.