We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Nine and three-quarter hours. That’s how long you’ll be sitting—and marveling, from all reports—at DruidMurphy, the audacious adventure in epic theater-making that Galway’s Druid Theater has fashioned from a trio of acclaimed Tom Murphy dramas. Mounted by Garry Hynes, whose staging has earned this event soubriquets ranging from “mesmerizing” (Guardian) to “breathtaking” (New York Times), the plays (Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark, and Famine) aren’t a trilogy exactly, but they’re said to jointly explore the impact of emigration on Irish identity across more than a century. They’re catchable at the KenCen individually on three separate weekdays, or together in an all-day Saturday marathon. Daunting, sure—but an undeniable bargain if you consider that an orchestra seat at War Horse will cost you $1.09 per minute, while a minute in that same seat for the full DruidMurphy marathon runs a mere 22 cents. And here’s the thing: When troupes ask you to sit that long, they know they need to make it worth your while. The RSC’s eight-hour Nicholas Nickleby packed more theatricality into any one of its Dickensian hours than all of its 1982 Broadway brethren combined. Tony Kushner sent an angel crashing through the ceiling at the midpoint of his six-plus-hour Angels in America, confident that his gay fantasia still had spectacle to burn. And Tom Stoppard’s nine-hour Coast of Utopia wasn’t just inventive and gorgeous, it sent audiences out on a linguistic high that took days to dissipate. It’s worth noting, incidentally, that even with those authors in the running, British critics have called Murphy “the greatest dramatist writing in English.” In short, this sounds like an event no serious theaterphile can lightly consider missing.