You won’t find Solas Nua’s season opener, Improbable Frequency, at any of the established venues around town. And you can be forgiven for checking the address a few times: 111 K St NE. The building is “a brand new glass fronted office condo building”, according to Linda Murray, Solas Nua’s Artistic Director.
J Street Development has allowed the company to take over a floor and convert it into a 1940’s night club. ” We very much wanted to embrace the underground history of the speak easy and wanted the night club to be located somewhere unexpected. You have to know its there to find it – nothing about the building from outside would indicate what we have put in place.” Murray continued.
So a bartender stands where one day there will be a reception area, and, where undoubtedly there will be rows of cubicles in the future, a 4 piece band backs the show’s singers in the cabaret style Solas Nua setting. When asked what the tenants thought of them, Murray said “They are definitely curious, and are buying tickets to see what we’re doing.”
Musicals aren’t exactly a major export of Ireland. As a matter of fact, this writer is hard pressed to think of one at all. (The Pirate Queen doesn’t count.) So until now, Solas Nua has been importing contemporary Irish dramas. But Improbable Frequency, created by Arthur Riordan and Bell Helicopter and premiered by Dublin’s Rough Magic theatre company, takes place in World War II Dublin, and involves a mad scientist, a cruciverbalist and a host of spies and saboteurs threaten Ireland’s neutrality. And a lot of 40’s style music. A “giddy, farcical romp”, it swept the annual Irish theatre awards in 2007, was the smash hit of the Dublin and Edinburgh fringe festivals, and had a short run in New York following its national tour of Ireland.
“We just want people to have fun.” Murray explained. “A lot of our core actors are in this piece (Eric Messner, Madeleine Carr, Kevin O’Reilly) and it has been great seeing them stretch from the very precise and intricate acting we require of them toward a joyous show that asks them to sing and dance. We were amazed, for example, that John Tweel, a gifted comic actor “was born to play our Irish curmudgeon writer who can dance.” The cast as a whole has been phenomenal on this show and it has been lovely seeing them embrace all the Irish silliness inherent in the text.”
Improbable Frequency opens tomorrow night, Sept 30th at 111K St NE. For details, directions and tickets, click here.