Readings at the Roost review

Abby Whitman, Contributing writer

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On the night of Sept. 9, the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture hosted their first reading in their newest series, called “Readings at the Roost.”
The concert reading was a performance of “Riders to the Sea,” an Irish one-act tragedy by John Millington Synge, and was performed by Mercyhurst University alumni and faculty members.
This is the first of many Irish works to be performed to celebrate Mercyhurst University’s Irish roots.
The setting of the series was inspired by the pubs in Ireland, where people gather to tell stories and sing music.
The cozy corner of The Roost was the perfect place to listen to Irish folk music performed by Louis Nicolia on fiddle, including the beloved ballad “Danny Boy,” before the reading, and then to enjoy this piece of classic Irish theatre.
“Riders to the Sea” is critically acclaimed as one of the greatest one act plays.
It takes place on the Aran island of Inishmaan, and the plot draws allusions from Greek mythology.
Even if you were not familiar with theatre or Irish culture going into this performance, Joanne McGurk, Ph.D., associate professor of English, provided the audience the cultural and social context of the one-act play before the reading began.
Richard McCarty, Ph.D., associate professor of Religious Studies, read the stage directions, setting the stage for the hopeless tragedy that was about to take place.
Heidi Hosey, Ph.D., interim dean of the Walker College of Business, played Maurya, the matriarch of the family in “Riders to the Sea.”
Mercyhurst alumni Bethany Sulecki (Nora), Sarah Krempasky (Cathleen) and Owen Hitt (Bartely) read the parts of the family of Maurya.
The audience was brought into the stormy and desolate world of the play and Maurya’s unceasing struggle with the sea that took the lives of their male family members.
The “Readings at The Roost” series is free and open to the public, located in the Playwright’s Snug of The Roost.
The next reading will be on Oct. 14.
It will be a telling of Irish ghost stories.

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