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Washington's small theater: Solas Nua

Linda Murray, Solas Nua founder and artistic director, has brought Irish playwrights Enda Walsh and Abbie Spallen to the attention of D.C. audiences.
Linda Murray, Solas Nua founder and artistic director, has brought Irish playwrights Enda Walsh and Abbie Spallen to the attention of D.C. audiences. (Melina Mara/the Washington Post)

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Chances are nil you'll ever see Linda Murray's sprightly company staging George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde. Out-of-touch "kitchen-sink dramas" is how the Dublin native describes such fare.

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The former dancer with the charming lilt founded Solas Nua with her husband, Dan Brick, in 2005 to put a spotlight on Irish playwrights largely unrecognized here: Owen McCafferty, Enda Walsh, Abbie Spallen, those turning out darkly comic, caustic reflections on contemporary Ireland.

Solas Nua has a home in the black-box theater at Flashpoint. But Murray, who produced one play in the Georgetown public pool, hopes to stretch beyond those walls again next season. The company will stage every play off-site, so expect to see Paul Walker's "Ladies and Gents" in a park restroom (if all goes as planned).

"My job is not only to represent the playwrights coming out of Ireland, but also the major trends and ways that Irish theater is moving," Murray says. Site-specific work, she says, is "something that audiences are responding to in a really exciting way."

What to see next: A free reading of the play "Noah and the Tower Flower" by Sean McLoughlin on Monday; "Johnny Meister and the Stitch," June 24-July 17 at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. 800-494-8497. http://www.solasnua.org. $20-$30.

-- Lavanya Ramanathan


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