The First Protestant - by Gerry Farrell.
Directed by Prin Duignan
A gripping psychological drama with moments of intensity and also unexpected comedy, The First Protestant presents a tense duel between Martin Luther and the shadowy figure of The Analyst, and through it the life and struggles of Luther, the monk who defied the Catholic Church with such profound repercussions for Christendom.
Finding echoes in current events, Luther's Europe is one where there is a peasant revolt caused by oppressive economic austerity, a possible banking collapse in Germany, the Europe-wide Union of the Holy Roman Empire in danger of fragmentation, the Ottoman Empire threatening the peace of Europe, and the invention of the printing press offering the possibility of free dissemination of information.
'A superb evening at Smock Alley Theatre with this clever, funny two-man show by Splódar Theatre Company. Martin Luther visits a shrink to address his fears and anger. The Viking Theatre should get this on the programme immediately.' Joe Culley, writer, former editor of the Irish Times, and columnist with History Ireland
'Privileged to see this tonight. Immaculate script, great two-hander and sympathetic portrayal of a man who has been demonised over the last 500 years for many reasons. Well done to all concerned. Worth seeing if you get a chance.' Ronan McGreevy, Irish Times journalist. Author: Wherever the Firing Line Extends. Editor: Centenary - Ireland Remembers 1916
'The First Protestant; A play for our time.' Jessica Thompson, The Longford Leader
'Who knew a play about Martin Luther could be both laugh-out-loud funny & intellectually shocking? Catch it while you can.' Joe Humphries, Irish Times journalist, author and philosophiser
Michael Roper is a prolific stage and film actor. Among the companies he has performed with are: The Blue Raincoats, Splódar, Beesneez, Ballintra Players and Everyman (Sligo). His favourite roles include, Thomas More in A Man for all Seasons, Alfieri , A View from the Bridge, McMurphy, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hugh Mór O’Donnell, Translations, Clocker Lynch, Lovely Leitrim, SB O’ Donnell, Philadelphia, Here I Come! Richard Gore, The Home Place, Morgan, The Drawer Boy, Sanbatch Daly, The Wood of the Whispering, Bartley Dowd, The King of Friday’s Men and Old Mahon, The Playboy of the Western World. His work in Irish includes the father in Splódar’s Irish language translation of Sive by John B Keane. Two of Michael’s career highlights were his role of narrator of The Famine Commemoration Show (Dir. Catherine Rattigan)and Harps, Harpers and Big Houses,( Dir. Catherine Rattigan) both of which went on extensive tours of the US. In film Michael was supporting actor in To Catch a Crow (Dir. Shay Leonard) which won the audience award in the 2000 BBC Short Films competition. He has also appeared in Mapmaker, (Dir. Johnny Gogan), Vandals (RTÉ Access TV), Mobs of America, End of Season and Uncle Max.
Writer and actor, Gerry Farrell is perhaps best known for his adaptation and performance of James Joyce’s Ulysses with which he twice toured the United states, firstly at the invitation of the Ivy League colleges, including Yale and subsequently at the request of the Irish American Cultural Institute. His work as director includes An Triail by Máiréad Ní Ghráda and Anam an Easbaig, an adaptation of the story by Padraic Ó Conaire. In the last twenty years, Gerry has mostly performed with two of the best known companies in the North West; Splódar and Beesneez. His repertoire includes Iago in ‘Othello’, Mullins in ‘A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant’, Stephen in ‘Stephen D’, Gar Private in ‘Philadelphia Here I Come!’ and Fr Jack in ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’. Among his performances with Beesneez are major roles in ‘Chapter 2’, ‘Out of Order’, ‘The Kings of the Kilburn Highroad’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and many more, culminating in the hugely successful ‘An Ordinary Man’ written and directed by John McDwyer. This show has been staged at intervals all over Ireland and in parts of the UK since 2007 and is currently on tour. ‘The First Protestant’ is Gerry Farrell’s first full length play and involved painstaking research into the lives and works of Martin Luther and Sigmund Freud. He is currently working on a drama that highlights the consequences for Ireland of the actions of Lloyd George. Entitled ‘The Great Divider’ it will be staged in 2020.