Solas Nua brings back live theater with ‘In the Middle of the Fields’ in a park

Renowned for site-specific work, the company mounts an of-the-moment play about rebounding from a difficult life experience.

Solas Nua, DC’s award-winning Irish arts organization, stages an outdoor, live theater production May 20 to June 12, 2021. Recognized for the excellence of its site-specific work, Solas Nua will mount its first live performance in over a year in the beautiful P St Beach park in Dupont Circle. With socially distant seating, the play will welcome audiences to safely enjoy live theater again underneath the summer stars.

In the Middle of the Fields, written by Deirdre Kinahan (Wild Sky, The Frederick Douglass Project), centers on Eithne, who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Stepping out of her house and into the nearby fields, she wonders what her life will be like on the other side of recovery from a deadly disease.

The cast of ‘In the Middle of the Fields’: Jessica Lefkow, Caroline Dubberly, and Ryan Sellers.

“Whether or not audiences have been affected by cancer, we’ve all been dealing with how the pandemic has upended our lives this past year,” said Artistic Director of Theatre Rex Daugherty. “I chose this play because it will connect to anyone who is looking forward to a better life after a difficult, life-changing experience.

“Audiences will be seated in the same field with Eithne,” Daugherty continued, “and both the character and the gathered crowd will be able to collectively dream of that brighter day. Washington has deeply missed in-person performances, so this show will be an event to celebrate!”

Solas Nua has produced in many nontraditional theater spaces, and earned high praise for these innovative productions. Washington City Paper said, “Solas Nua arguably puts on the best site-specific theater in DC.”

Kinahan’s previous work with Solas Nua includes the sold-out run of Wild Sky, staged in private residences throughout DC, as well as the critically acclaimed, Helen Hayes Award–winning production of The Frederick Douglass Project, which was mounted on a floating pier on the Anacostia River.

In the Middle of the Fields  is directed by Laley Lippard, who also directed the sold-out run of The Smuggler at Allegory Cocktail bar. DC Metro Theater Arts called it, “DC’s coolest site-specific show ever” and The New York Times picked it as one of the best productions of the year, nationwide. Said Daugherty: “I’m so excited that Laley is working with us again. Her vision is more than just making a play — she makes an experience.” The cast features three Helen Hayes–nominated actors: Jessica Lefkow, Caroline Dubberly, and Ryan Sellers.

‘In the Middle of the Fields’ creative team members: Deirdre Kinahan, playwright; Laley Lippard, director; Tony Thomas, choreographer;Tosin Olufolabi, sound designer; Izzy Gholl, assistant director.

The design team includes choreography by Helen Hayes Award winner Tony Thomas, lighting design by longtime Solas Nua company member Marianne Meadows (Theatre Lobby’s Mary Goldwater Award winner), and two Helen Hayes Award–nominated sound designers, Gordon Nimmo-Smith and Tosin Olufolabi. Stage management is by Sam Reilly with Izzy Gholl as assistant director.

Nationally recognized Creative Strategist Philippa Hughes will provide audience engagement events throughout the production in conjunction with Nueva Vida. Solas Nua will be raising awareness and fundraising for this organization during the run of the show. Nueva Vida is the only organization in the DC area that provides a comprehensive support network for the under-served Latina population effected by breast cancer. Read more about this worthy organization at nueva-vida.org.

In the Middle of the Fields runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays May 20 to June 12, 2021, at P St Beach Park, 1414 22nd St NW, Washington, DC (two blocks from Dupont Circle Metro). Performances begin at 7:30 pm; run time is approximately 50 minutes. Admission is free with purchase of a three-show Solas Nua Summer Theatre Membership, which starts at $55. For registrantion information go to solasnua.org

ARTIST BIOS

Rex Daugherty (Producer/Artistic Director of Theatre) has served as AD of Theatre since 2015, during which time he has garnered international acclaim for Solas Nua productions, earned multiple Helen Hayes Awards and nominations, and provided the company with steady artistic and financial growth. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, on the cover of American Theatre Magazine, The Irish Times, RTE Culture, and aired on RTE – Irish National Broadcast. Recently, his one-man show The Smuggler was listed by The New York Times as one of the best theater productions of 2019, nationwide. Rex has produced the top three highest grossing shows in the company’s 15 year history. His work has also been seen at The Kennedy Center, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The National Theatre, The Warner Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, Folger Theatre, Rep Stage, Imagination Stage, Arts on the Horizon, The OKC Civic Center, and Off Broadway at 59E59. rex-daugherty.com.

Deirdre Kinahan (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s elected body of outstanding artists. Recent work includes: Embargo (Fishamble 2020), Dear Ireland (Abbey Theatre 2020), The Bloodied Field (Abbey Theatre 2020), The Unmanageable Sisters (Abbey Theatre 2018/19), Rathmines Road (Fishamble 2018), Crossings (Pentabus UK 2018), The Frederick Douglass Project, Wild Sky (Solas Nua DC 2018), Renewed (Old Vic London 2018). New Projects include: Fallen (opera) – Meath County Council, Creative Ireland and Belfast Ensemble, Ettie (Musical) – Irish Arts Centre NYC, The Visit Draiocht & Dublin Theatre Festival, Civil War Commemoration Play – Meath County Council. Deirdre is an Associate Artist with Meath County Council Arts Office.  Her plays are translated into many languages, published by Nick Hern Books and produced regularly in Ireland and on the International stage. Representation: Lily Williams, Curtis Brown, London.

Laley Lippard (Director) is a proud associate artist of Solas Nua, a director, creative producer, and educator committed to championing anti-oppressive work across disciplines, developing new plays, and creating performances that disrupt injustice. Lippard has directed and collaborated with Solas Nua, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Guthrie Theater, Round House Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House, American Theater Company, Magic Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Court Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, among others. She has taught, workshopped, and directed at Universities including Stanford University, Northwestern University, Hampshire College, Carnegie Mellon University, and Case Western Reserve MFA Acting program. Lippard was the co-founder and co-executive producer of The Chicago Home Theater Festival, a five-year citywide artistic network and annual event that organized artists across form, local community leaders, change agents, youth, and other invested neighbors to celebrate neighborhood culture, share a communal meal, experience transformative art, build intentional community across lines of difference, and inspire direct action. Other producing work includes Z/Magic Mondays at Magic Theatre as Artistic Associate and with The Welders as Interim Creative Producer. During the quarantine, Lippard developed, curated and produced over 30 events with Mosaic Theater Company including Creative Conversations, Peace Cafes, and more with local and international scholars, artists, community leaders, and change-makers. Lippard is a proud member of the National Directors Fellowship, a partnership between the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, National New Plays Network, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and The Kennedy Center; a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab; an associate member of the SDC, and holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University. 

Tony Thomas (Choreographer) is an independent artist working a wide range of mediums. His theater credits include Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Mosaic Theatre, Constellation Theatre, and Imagination Stage. He was nominated for Outstanding Choreography by the Helen Hayes Awards in 2019 for P.Y.G at Studio Theatre and in 2016 for Word Becomes Flesh at Theater Alliance. Performance credits include West Side Story (Tio) National Tour, Guys & Dolls, and A Chorus Line (2014 HH Award Outstanding Musical Production) at Olney Theatre Center. He serves as Head of Dance and Artisticm Supervisor (Pre-Professional Program) at Adventure Theatre MTC, sits on the board and dance faculty with Ngoma Center for Dance, and actively leads numerous workshops and coaching circuits from East to West coast. Tony Thomas Designs was developed in 2004, featuring Tio Diaz Studio as a premiere creative firm in Interior Architecture and Creative Direction in the arts and entertainment industry.

Tosin Olufolabi (Sound Designer) is a sound designer, deviser & facilitator. Her sound designs include Hi, Are You Single?, Gloria (Woolly Mammoth); Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Dancing Men, Loveday Brooke in the Mystery of the Drawn Daggers & Lovers’ Vows (We Happy Few); Head Over Heels (Monumental Theater); My Barking Dog (Edge of the Universe Players 2); Sleep Deprivation Chamber, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Round House Theatre); Ties That Bind, Caucasian Chalk Circle & Antigone (Catholic University); God is Dead & April is Getting Married (Three Muses); Peepshow (dog & pony dc); Abortion Road Trip & Soldier Poet (Theatre Prometheus); Lela & Co. (Factory 449); Blacktop Sky (York College). Assistant design credits include Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Kennedy Center TYA); One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest & Baggage (Gallaudet University); Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth, Thumbelina, Anatole & Davy Copperfield (Imagination Stage); Still Life with Rocket (Theater Alliance).=

Gordon Nimmo-Smith (Sound Designer) is a Helen Hayes Nominated sound designer, audio/video engineer and production manager based in Washington, D.C. His sound designs have been heard around the D.C. area, for companies including Solas Nua (Little Thing, Big Thing) Constellation Theatre Company, Keegan Theatre, Metrostage, Spooky Action Theater, Flying V and Rorschach Theatre Company. Alongside his freelance work, Gordon is currently the Audio/Video Supervisor for Shakespeare Theatre Company

Izzy Gholl (Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager) is a local DC actor and director who just graduated from The Catholic University of America with a Bachelors of Music in Musical Theatre. This is her first production with Solas Nua and she is very excited to be a part of this beautiful show. She looks forward to continuing her work as an actor and director in DC, and to hopefully working with Solas Nua and this incredible cast and crew again in the future.

Jessica Lefkow (Eithne) is a performer, director and teacher, whose local credits include performances at Olney Theater Center, 1st Stage, Keegan Theatre, Taffety Punk Theatre Company, We Happy Few DC, Brave Spirits Theatre Company, dog&ponydc.  Regional and touring credits include appearances at American Shakespeare Center, Gulfshore Playhouse. Nominee, Helen Hayes Best Supporting Actress In a Play Award (Helen) for her work in We Happy Few’s Lover’s Vows. Previous work with Solas Nua has included readings of Strandline and Lally the Scut, both by Abbie Spallen. Jessica is a Lecturing Professor at Montgomery County Community College in Rockville, MD. She holds a BFA (Acting) from The Catholic University of America and an MFA Degree in Classical Acting from George Washington University. Jessica is an Equity Member Candidate, a member of AFTRA, and is Mom to DJE. Other projects and credits can be found on her website;  www.jessicalefkow.com

Caroline Dubberly (Ensemble) is thrilled to be in her first show at Solas Nua. Previous DC theatre credits include: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Kennedy Center; Translations and The Father, Studio Theatre; Baby Screams Miracle, Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Betrayal, 4615 Theatre; Be More Chill, Monumental Theatre; Top Girls (Dull Gret/Angie- Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Play) and Next to Normal (Natalie- HHN for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Musical), Keegan Theatre. Regional credits include: Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Stage West; Blood Wedding, Cara Mia Theatre; The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Dallas Children’s Theater, The Lady Revealed, Theatre3. Caroline serves as a teaching artist and director at Imagination Stage, where she has directed student productions of The Wolves and Edges. She also hosts a theatre podcast called The CaroDubb After-School Theatre Camp Power Hour, which is available wherever you listen to podcasts. www.carolinedubberly.com

Ryan Sellers (Ensemble) National Tour: Five Little Monkeys (ATMTC) DC Area: Synetic Theater: The Adventures of Peter Pan, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Taming of the ShrewThe Three Musketeers, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Helen Hayes, Best Ensemble), Macbeth, Host and Guest, The Master And Margarita, Antony and Cleopatra, Don Quixote, Dante, Romeo and Juliet (Helen Hayes, Best Ensemble), Othello, The Mark of Cain; Signature Theater: West Side Story, Threepenny Opera, Miss Saigon; Folger Theater: The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Second Shepherds’ Play Studio Theater: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Shakespeare Theater: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Imagination Stage: The Ballad of Mu lan, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Night Fairy, Anime Momotaro, P. Nokio, The Wind In The Willows; Constellation Theater: White Snake, Arabian Nights, Keegan Theatre: The Undeniable Sound of Right Now; Creative Cauldron: The Turn of the Screw, Madeline’s Christmas; Arts On The Horizon: Sunny and Licorice, Point A to Point B.

Philippa P.B. Hughes (Audience Engagement) is a Social Sculptor and Creative Strategist who produces creative projects that transform society through humanizing and compassionate conversations between people who might not normally meet. She has designed and produced hundreds of unconventional, delightful, and fun activations aimed at building social capital, social cohesion, and social discourse. Her practice prioritizes relationships and encompasses a multi-disciplinary approach that is informed by sociology, psychology, philosophy, political science, community organizing, design thinking, creative placemaking, art, and humanities. She leads CuriosityConnects.us, a partner in Looking For America, a national series inviting politically diverse guests to break bread and talk to each other face-to-face.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here