2012, 2014 Gonne/Yeats

Gonne/Yeats – the story of the Nobel Laureate poet William Butler Yeats and his life-long love and muse Maud Gonne MacBride – is another piece which took on a life of its own.

The conception of Nashville dramaturg and all-around theatre savant, Jaz Dorsey, the piece has been performed twice in New York (once at the request of the New York Yeats Society for its annual meeting and dinner), at least three times in Nashville, two separate productions in St. Louis and who knows where else.

Written by Dennis Corcoran, the piece, while still not complete, was performed for the Irish Counsel of Atlanta.  The segment of the story contained the Yeats poem When You Are Old, which happend to have been the Irish official’s favorite.  That segment was subsequently filmed in a Nashville studio.

The first St. Louis production was in 2012 at Firecracker Press on Cherokee Street, the same site where Krapp’s Last Tape had been performed the preceding year.  It was directed by Brian J. Rolf, assisted by Drew Donohoe, with Ashley Bauman as Maud and Chuck Winning as her dearest Willie.  All were STLCC students at the time.

It was later produced again in St. Louis in 2014 at Firecracker Press’ Old North facility followed by a run at The Chapel of the Arts.  This production was directed by Dennis Corcoran.  Because two of the world’s most notable poets had died not long before this production – American, Maya Angelou, and Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney – a small tribute piece, a performance of an Angelou poem, was added as a pre-show and the recorded recitation of a Heaney poem, Requiem for the Croppies, was add to the top of show.

Performing in the poetry segment were STLCC students Drew Donohoe, Katie Cahill and Jeremiah Johnson.  The play itself featured Andrew Bayer as Willie, Jordan Stiles as Maud and a third character, added for the New York productions, the Washer Woman, played by Jamie Langen Neubacher.  All were STLCC students.

Throughout it’s life, the piece has continued to evolve to best suit the times and the talent involved.