Cork couple a big hit in Big Apple with one-man play

A Cork husband and wife are proving a big hit with New York audiences and critics for their latest off-Broadway performance.

Director Judy Lovett Hegarty and actor Conor Lovett have been blown away by the response of critics to Title and Deed which they premiered in Kilkenny last year.

The one-man one-act play by Will Eno is running until mid-June at the 190-seat Pershing Square Signature Theater Center and many of the performances are sold out.

Conor Lovett plays a nameless traveller searching for solace in an unknown country. The audience is left happy to be hypnotised by his melodic voice and suffering eyes, according to Variety.com.

“Like a singer, his voice is his instrument, with its own cadences and distinctive musical tone,” wrote reviewer Marilyn Stasio.

The review continues that director Lovett Hegarty “plays this instrument like a true maestro”.

New Yorker reviewer John Lahr described the performance as elegantly directed, saying it is channelled through Conor Lovett’s “nuanced and canny presence”.

President Michael D Higgins enjoyed a private performance of the 70-minute work during his visit to New York earlier this month, just before the previews opened on May 8. But following the opening on Sunday night, the Irish company has been delighted with the reviews of recent days.

“This is a significant production in a very important theatre in New York and we’re just delighted to be so successful here,” said Maura O’Keeffe, producer of the pair’s Gare St Lazare Players Ireland.

“As an Irish company representing Ireland abroad, it’s a very proud moment which has been really made possible with the support of Culture Ireland,” she said.

The play has been likened by critics to Samuel Beckett, whose works have been the backbone of Gare St Lazare Players Ireland’s rising international reputation.

“The graven imprint of Samuel Beckett is strong in Mr Eno’s solo works, and the connection is emphasised here by the easy Irish lilt in Mr Lovett’s voice, which wraps itself around the writing like a worn but comfortable woollen coat,” wrote New York Times critic Charles Isherwood this week.

Conor Lovett has become known as one of the best performers of Beckett and Judy has directed him in 11 solo shows for the company. They have toured over 70 cities in 25 countries since the couple formed it in 1996.

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