Off Broadway Reviews
The play, with a running time of just under two hours, is being offered on a limited production schedule as part of Theater for the New City's Dream Up Festival. Taking place in Ireland in 1941, Daughter of the Waves is rendered in a series of short scenes through which the stories of the individual charactersmany of them refugees from the warcome into focus.
The plight of refugees was a thorny issue for the government of the Republic of Ireland, which maintained official neutrality throughout the war and did not encourage the harboring of undocumented aliens. Here, it is Bryne (splendidly acted by Connie Rotunda), the proprietor of the family-owned circus, who serves as the protector of these "broken birds" and who will turn no one away. Byrne is determined to pull everyone through, and uses corny jokes and self-deprecation ("My life just one big feckin' circus") to hold the demons at bay.
Byrne's bravery (she also serves as a coast watcher, on the lookout for suspicious activity) is echoed by that of the members of her troop, whether they are supporting each other, dealing with the horrors they fled, or even going into enemy territory to help the Resistance or to rescue another refugee. It is a real strength of the play that each of these courageous acts is presented without a lot of bombast, despite the always-present fear and underlying sadness.
The circus performances that accompany the play (Byrne keeps everyone busy rehearsing) include some excellent acrobatic work and the unfolding of a parallel story based on an Irish myth that takes on real-life significance as the play progresses. Ms. Connolly, who also serves as the director, along with dance choreographer Sean Roschman, aerial choreographer Megan Hornaday, and the entire company of actors, are to be commended for their top-notch work on bringing this memorable wartime story to life.
Daughter Of The Waves - part of Dream Up Festival!