Two new plays by Eugene O’Hare will have their world premiere in a double-bill, The Human Connection, at Omnibus Theatre in south London
Omnibus Theatre in London is resuming live performances with the world premiere of two new plays written and directed by acclaimed Irish actor and theatre-maker Eugene O’Hare.
Under the overall title of The Human Connection, the double bill comprises Larry Devlin Wants to Talk to You About Something That Happened and Child 786.
Both described as “punchy and provocative”, they will run at the Clapham theatre from 22 June to 4 July, with press night on 24 June.
Larry Devlin Wants to Talk to You About Something That Happened was originally intended to premiere as part of the Barbican’s cancelled Ghost Light series. In a quiet Irish border town, a tiny forgotten moment from the past vividly returns to single father Larry Devlin, demonstrating how memory can make a fiction of reality.
Performances of the monologue will be shared, with Stephen Kennedy from 22 to 29 June and Frank Laverty from 30 June to 4 July.
Child 786, written in response to lockdown, follows 22-year-old Lennox who leaves his deserted university campus and returns to live with his single mother, Hilary. It’s not ideal. Both of them have big personalities and both hold very different opinions on the global crisis. But Lennox has a new theory. He thinks he has been in a sort of lockdown since the day he was born.
Child 786 is a black comedy about the extremes of family life in an extreme situation. It will star Josh Williams alongside Ishia Bennison.
The double bill arises out of a message of support that O’Hare sent to the Omnibus Theatre and its artistic director, Marie McCarthy, after lockdown hit in March last year, proposing that he rally a group of UK theatre’s top acting talent to help the venue during this challenging time.
He said: “Omnibus Theatre could so easily become an unsalvageable casualty of lockdown. So many smaller theatres like this one, and many of the freelancers who help keep them alive, have had little to no support over the past year.
“With fewer staff than before the closure in 2020, Marie McCarthy has defiantly announced a summer reopening season which provides a welcoming home for a wide-ranging programme of work.
“It is no small matter that the Omnibus is also home to a youth theatre group. And youth theatre doesn’t just enrich the lives of children, it saves some of those lives too. I am living proof of this.
“I am proud to have my new work staged here, to have been invited so warmly to help reopen Marie’s theatre, and to have persuaded four magnificent actors to share their exquisite story-telling talent. Come fill this theatre. Come make it your home.”
McCarthy added: “As a small, independent venue still in survival mode, we are so encouraged by and grateful for the support of high-profile, established theatre makers as we pave the way back to normality.
“Eugene’s writing is fearless, tender and poetic, and we’re thrilled to have the quartet of terrific acting talents that he has pulled together welcoming audiences back into our building this summer.”
Presented in association with Savage Artists, The Human Connection is produced by Bridget Kalloushi.
O’Hare’s two debut full-length plays, Sydney & the Old Girl and The Weatherman, premiered at London’s Park Theatre in 2019. His other works include the widely-performed teenage cancer play Hospital Food for National Theatre Connections and Refuge for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He began his career as an actor and has appeared on TV in series such as Marcella, The Fall, Dublin Murders and the upcoming series six of Outlander and on stage including The Ferryman at the Royal Court and in the West End.
Omnibus Theatre’s new season will also feature Theatre6 and Tales Re-told’s show Estella, an adaptation by Kate McGregor of Dickens’ Great Expectations, from 1 to 4 July.
The 96 Festival will return, celebrating queerness and theatre, from 5 to 11 July, with productions including Sprezzatura Productions’ V&V, Shutters: A Lesbian Rock Opera and Elf Lyons with two shows, Talking Dirty and Swan.
Omnibus Theatre will also continue to offer digital productions through its online platform, adding the Bridge Theatre’s film of An Evening with an Immigrant, written and performed by playwright and poet Inua Ellams, from 15 to 19 June.