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Shining City

October 2021

Branford Calliope Courtyard at Yale

Director's Note

     At its core, this play is a ghost story.

     Everyone in Shining City is haunted by something; be it adultery, abuse, homelessness, or a lifetime in the closet, the ghosts that follow these characters hang in the air like a thick, inescapable mist. However, these ghosts have a history that goes far beyond the text that they inhabit. They are leftovers from a religious and sociopolitical hangover, the direct result of Ireland’s tumultuous history. Transforming from an indentured and actively militarized British colony to one of the most progressive countries on the world stage, all in under a mere hundred years, the whirlwind of the Irish historical timeline is reflected in the whirlwind events of this play. Specifically, this multilayered history is embodied in the character of Ian: a closeted ex-priest-turned-therapist struggling to balance his responsibility to his patients, his girlfriend, their infant daughter, and himself.

     Our interpretation of this piece is grounded in its oft-underemphasized queerness. Many LGBTQ+ publications have aptly called the queerness in this play “a ghost of its own potential,” and thus we have sought to place this subtext at the forefront, inspiring our decision to cast John as a woman. As Ian watches his own life reflected in hers, he sees the ways that his life could’ve been both better and worse had he the strength to show the world who he really is. In many ways, the only difference between our female John and Ian is that she lives her truth, often to a fault, and he is too scared to live his own. As these two people learn from each other, and the circles of Ian’s external life impose on the narrative, we see the reality of the modern queer experience reflected on the stage: accepted in theory, still coated in fear in practice.

     But that’s the big picture, and this piece is all in the minutiae.

     It is these minutiae that I find so enrapturing about this play, and that I hope you do too. It is a voyeuristic glance into the interpersonal breakdowns of its characters, and as you sit in this courtyard, surrounded by the glowing windows of our own shining city, our surrogate for Dublin, you might feel yourself being watched by their inhabitants just as you watch the guests in Ian’s office.

     And who knows – if you watch closely enough, you may even catch a glimpse of a ghost or two.

Production Photos

Photos by Anisë Murseli and Carson White
Show Clips and/or Full Production Footage Available Upon Request

Production Team

Director: Madison Cole
Producer: Kara O'Rourke

Stage Manager: Eliza MacGilvray

Set Designer: Perri Hawkins

Lighting Designers: Kara Amar, Eitan Acks
Sound Designer: Jonathan Weiss 

Costume Designer: Selin Goren 

Props Designer: Perri Hawkins

Dramaturg: Sarah Valeika

Assistant Director: Marissa Blum

Assistant Producer: Bradley Nowacek

Assistant Stage Manager: Hemakshi Gordy

Makeup Artist: Carson White

Dialect Coaches: Aaron Cullen, Daire Lynch, Emma McAteer


Ian: Aaron Magloire

John: Malia Munley

Neasa: Emma McAteer

Laurence: Calum Baker

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