Author Archives: Brieahn J. DeMeo

Wrapping up Improbable Frequency

It’s been almost a week since we wrapped on Improbable Frequency which means it’s reflection time.  Here is where we get to do a post mortem, we look back on the crazy wild adventure that was improbable frequency.

So what is it that we have learned.  Well for starters, putting on a musical is quite an undertaking, but that’s what we do here at Solas Nua, we aim high.  We never take the easy way out, because good art doesn’t come out of easy.  And we did it, the show came together in a dizzying array song, dance, and word play like none that Solas Nua had seen before.  Our cast was amazing and we thank all of them for the time and effort they put in.  It was fun guys 🙂

What else did we learn, well, when giving people a password to enter a super secret club, using the term ‘cruciverbalist’ may not be your best option.  While it makes perfect sense once you’ve seen the tongue twisting, word bending spectacular, your patrons invariably will look at you like you’re insane and tentatively make their way to the elevator wondering if they will ever remember that crazy phrase by the time they reach the 6th floor.  Word to the wise, pick normal english words like radio waves or atomic… but where’s the fun in that right?!

Perhaps another insightful revelation we stumbled upon is that there’s something to this ‘site specific’ thing.  All the rumblings I’ve been hearing are that people are really excited to get out of the traditional theatre and experience something new.  we’re the only theatre company in DC that is doing this right now, and it’s great that so many people are behind it.  And what’s even better, it doesn’t end here.  We’ve got more fantastic venues ready and waiting to be transformed into the ultimate theatre experience.  We think you’re gonna be impressed with all of them.

Even after all the lessons learned the most important things we have taken away is the amazing dedication of you guys.  With the exception of one or two evenings our house, or more precisely our night club, was full.  We can’t thank you all enough

So that’s it folks.  Improbable Frequency is officially closed and it’s full steam ahead.  November is a cornucopia of events starting with the incomparable Julie Feeney, followed by a special collaboration with Project Brand New including Úna McKevitt’s Conceived and Directed.  Then we round out the month with visual artist Karl Burke.  In short we’ve got a jam packed month with some pretty amazing artists that you will not want to miss.


irish popcorn! returns

the renaissance washington dc dupont circle hotel was the setting monday night for the season debut of irish popcorn!, our bimonthly series of free film screenings.  an audience numbering more than 30 enjoyed drinks and snacked on free popcorn while taking in a free screening of joel conroy’s documentary waveriders.

narrated by irish actor cillian murphy (who starred in the film adaptation of disco pigs and set to a soundtrack that includes such irish rockers as u2 and the undertones, Waveriders traces surfing’s connections to ireland and the development of the island’s present-day surfing scene.

f you missed the screening, no worries–there’s more irish film on the horizon from solas nua: irish popcorn! will return in late november (stay tuned for details) and the Capital Irish Film Festival opens on December 2.


burlesque, espionage and… lederhosen?

improbable frequency, truly, is unlike any other piece i have ever seen or performed. matt torney, our director, came into the rehearsal process with a very definite idea of how he wanted to shape this part-romance, part-parody, part-thriller piece. for starters, he stressed the importance of grounding our story in one of history’s most devastating wars. the stakes are at a fever pitch: breaking neutrality and entering world war II could cost thousands of irish lives. many characters in the show; for example schrodinger, betjamin, and myles na gcopaleen, were dynamic public figures of the time.  also, weather broadcasts in ireland were actually forbidden, to prevent aiding nazi spies in bombing britain.

by grounding our journey in realities of the world war II era, we were free to explore different styles throughout the rehearsal process. as philomena, I dove into the passionate wartime romance style, and the mystery-thriller style of the thickening plot. the whole cast hit the ground running. it seemed that each day we covered miles of ground! it was doubly challenging to master the wide variety of musical genres, and to quickly switch from one acting style to the next. under careful direction and attention to detail, however, philomena and the rest of the characters quickly came alive to inhabit each style.

i am so pleased to be a part of realizing this smorgasbord of musical delight, fit to delight the eyes and ears of every ‘hotshot cruciverbalist’ in d.c.!

– stacey jackson — “philomena”

as we prepare to open improbable frequency tomorrow night, the office is fairly quiet.  quiet because everyone is over at the redbank nightclub putting the finishing touches on what is sure to be a solas nua production like non-other.  transforming the 6th floor of an office building in northeast dc has been no small feat, but transform we have, and what we have created is an authentic 1940s experience that we are sure you will not forget.  join us at the redbank nighclub and let us transport you from the 21st century to WWII era ireland.

improbable frequency

september 30th – october 24th, 2010
111 k street me
metro: union station
tix: $25 general admission
special $20 price on wednesdays!

out and about @ arts on foot

it’s a crisp, cool saturday morning and I am awake much earlier than I would normally be on a saturday.  the reason? arts on foot of course.  this will be my first experience with arts on foot, and to top it off i am not just going as a spectator, i am going to represent solas nua.  as i hop on the bus headed towards chinatown i wonder what is in store.  it’s shaping up to be a lovely day, a pleasant contrast to the expected 87 degree weather forecasted a week ago.  before entering the arts on foot zone i have to make a stop at the office and pick up supplies.  we promised swag and swag we brought.  postcards, brochures, t-shirts, buttons, and top secret codes only for the most trusted individuals.

decked out in my solas nua pink and black, ever the spokesperson, i watch as each curious bystander walks up to our table wondering what in the world is this ‘solas nua’ with the vibrantly pink table cloth (yes we had a pink table cloth, see pictures below) i explain to them what we are and what we do.  at first i can see their skeptical eyes silently thinking “contemporary irish arts, what does that even mean.”   but by the end of the conversation i can tell their interests have been peaked.

this is the moment i wait for, the moment when someone realizes that the arts in ireland are not just the traditional outlets that so often come to mind.  that the artists coming out of ireland right now are relevant and important in so many ways. i remember when i myself had this realization. and that is what arts on foot is for, it creates a place for people to explore the amazing arts community in dc.  it allows organizations access to a larger audience and in turn provides this audience with access to the diverse arts world that sometimes seems to get hidden by all the politics of the city.  it was great to be able to be a part of it this weekend, and share an organization that i have grown to love with others in the dc community.

kevin stopped by to help out for a bit...and is that maddy in the background?

brieahn j

the prophet of monto and the first irish theatre festival

with less than a week till opening night talks around the office are focused on our nyc production. solas nua  presents the prophet of monto by john paul murphy, directed by the lovely des kennedy, and featuring laoisa sexton and michael mellamphy.

liam and zoe are madly in love. well, one of them is. the other is up to all kinds of messing. when sometime-clairvoyant zoe is abroad, an eerily similar lady is seen zooming around dublin on the back of a motorcycle making illicit cash withdrawals. discovering the deception, liam’s twin brother larry plans an unusual revenge. but zoe has one more trick up her sleeve…

the prophet of monto opens on september 8, 2010 as part of the first irish theatre festival.  entering its third year, the theatre festival brings the very best of irish theatre to the new york community.  hosted by origin theatre company, the first irish theatre festival has succeeded in reaching more than 17 million people in its two years providing them access to the best irish theatre around.  the festival itself will run from early september to early october at 15 locations throughout new york city and will feature a total of 18 plays.  after you have had a chance to see our production you should definitely check out the other plays that are being presented as well.

origin theatre company is a non-profit cross-cultural theatre company that dedicates itself to the cultivation and development of new european playwrights.  based in new york city they have presented a long list of successful shows including the world premiere of rundown by mark o’rowe and one of our favorite playwrights enda walsh’s, misterman.

this will be the second show we have brought to the new york audience.  our first, of course, was enda walsh’s disco pigs in 2008 as part of the 1st ‘first irish theatre festival’.  disco pigs was a wild success then and we are sure that the prophet of monto will receive the same warm welcome.  of course we always think that our productions are brilliant, but that is because they are.  we make sure to produce some of the best works out of ireland for your viewing pleasures.  so if you are in the new york city area you don’t want to miss this 3 week run of the prophet of monto.  visit the solas nua site for more information.

below is a promo video from the first irish theatre festival  website

dublin named unesco city of literature

Dublin is a city of storytellers –

dublin city has been named unesco’s 4th city of literature.  dublin is no stranger to literary greatness, home to jonathan swift, oscar wilde and of course james joyce.  joyce’s ulysses remains one of ireland’s most well known novels.  The irish embassy here in dc hosts a bloomsday celebration every year in which passages from the book are read to guests at the ambassadors residence.  so it should come as no shock that dublin should be in the running.  four nobel peace prizes have been awarded to writers associated with dublin.  for ireland, literature is part of society.  “Writers in Dublin are not remote figures, out of step with the thrust of 21st century life but are part of the everyday landscape”

solas nua has recognized this aspect of irish culture through our dedication to bringing you the very best in irish literature every year through our free irish book day, and our writers festival.  we understand that literature is part of the very nature of being irish.

so what does this mean for dublin city, well it means exposure of course, but it also means that the city has an opportunity to share with the rest of the world the amazing writers that it continues to produce.  dublin may be known for joyce, wilde and swift, but what about sean o’ reilly,  leanne o’ sullivan,  gearóid mac lochlainn,  sweary lady (aka lisa mcinerney), antonia logue,  ailbhe keogan,  julian gough, and leonita flynn (s0me of the writers who will be featured in this years dc irish writers festival).  literature is just as relevant now to the city as it was 100 years ago.

for more information about dublin city of literature visit
for a list of unesco criteria to become a city of literature, visit their site here

introducing…season six

"Ireland" (image credit Jason McCool)

monday night ushered in a new season here at solas nua.   for those of you who missed it, the fridge graciously hosted us for the evening.  jukebox chronicles provided the live entertainment.

"jukebox chronicles" (image credit Jason McCool)

the new website went live earlier monday morning, which is exciting.  you can now get a full view of what season six will look like.  and let me tell you, it’s bigger and better than ever.  this season we are bringing you more music, more theatre, visual artists that bend the realms of perception, rock star writers, a bigger and better film festival, free movies, free books, and all around brilliant programming.

the brochures arrived in the afternoon and all of us in the office were excited to get those boxes opened and take a look at the finished product.  they came out beautifully.

there was of course the last minute running around that goes with any major event, but we made it over to the fridge by 5:30 to start the set-up for the evenings festivities.  the space was perfect, not too big and not too small, but just right.  we kicked things off in style with a a little standard number from jukebox chronicles.  they rocked all night long jumping from owl city, to frank sinatra and even a little taylor swift. yes you heard right taylor swift.  by the end of the evening folks were dancing and having an all around grand time.

dan made the official announcement around 7:30 informing the audience that this seasons theatre program was going to be amazing (you even have to sign a waiver before attending one of the shows). this season our theatre is all site specific, a feat not yet attempted by any other theatre company in dc. improbably frequency will be in a speakeasy, complete with secret password and hidden doors.  swampoodle will take up house in the old uline building off of the new york avenue metro stop, in the historically irish neighborhood. for music we’ve got 3 amazing artists julie feeney, caoimhin ó raghaillagh and duke special.  Julie will be performing in a shop window for street viewing pleasure.  basically this season rocks and all of our programming has something that makes it unique and special.  we hope you enjoy

here are some images from monday nights festivities

"Dan" (image credit Jason McCool)

"look at that turnout" (image credit Jason McCool)

"chris, rex & ronan" (image credit Jason McCool)

(image credit Jason McCool)

"gabby & joe" (image credit Jason McCool)

(image credit Jason McCool)

"stephanie" (image credit Jason McCool)

For more photos from the evening check out our flickr gallery

brieahn j.