10 DATES WITH MAD MARY (Inis Nua): Irish charm at Fergies Pub

Finally, it’s the Irish charm.

Inis Nua Theatre Company at Fergie’s Pub, offers “Pop-Up Play in a Pub” with lots of friendly people crowded around tables in the upstairs space, the lively buzz of voices from the drinking crowds downstairs, generous pourers behind the bar, and a chance to see a new Irish play by Yasmine Akram, an Irish-Pakistani comedy writer and actor. 10 Dates with Mad Mary is directed by Kathryn McMillan who is launching her first season as Inis Nua’s new Artistic Director.

Inis Nua’s mission (the name means “new island” in Gaelic) is to introduce local audiences to contemporary work by playwrights from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  In this one-person show, Anna Faye Lieberman gives us the raging, disappointed, self-indicting, violent, drunk, lonely, and altogether wild-hearted Mary.

She is just out of prison and from the look of things, she’s on her way back.  The drama takes place in an Irish town where everybody knows everything you’ve done, where she is greeted with open arms with “We’ve missed you, Chicken,”  but Charlene “is always the star.” It is Charlene’s upcoming wedding that creates the need for Mary to find a date. 

Besides all the hopeless candidates there is David, a kind man with a guitar in the graveyard where Mary has taken her grandmother—another wild-hearted woman—to talk to the dead love of her life. Mary goes speed-dating with her mother, and runs through a lineup of Declans and Nialls, all impossible as wedding dates. Over and over she makes a drunken scene as she proves over and over she cannot bear happiness.  The theme is “Go fuckin’ home, Mary” and her false reply is always, “I’m grand on me own.”

 But it’s not all grim, and in 75 minutes we have the happy ending we hoped for.

And, by the way, the pies are delicious.

[Inis Nua at Fergies Pub, 1214 Sansom Street] October 26-November 6, 2022; inisnuatheatre.org

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