‘Dorothy Parker Made Me A Feminist’ – Mary Kenny’s Highly Entertaining Performance at Listowel Writers’ Week 2013

We’re really pleased to be welcoming journalist and writer, Mary Kenny, back to Listowel Writers’ Week with one of her witty and stylish performances. Last year she brought her light-hearted and at times hilarious memoir, Dublin 4 Made Me, to a packed audience at St John’s Theatre.  She’s back this year with Dorothy Parker Made Me A Feminist; remembering the ‘wise-cracking’ and provocative New York poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit and eye for 20th century urban foibles.

Jackie: We’re looking forward with great anticipation to your performance of Dorothy Parker Made Me A Feminist. It won’t be in a theatre setting this time however, but The Seanchaí Restaurant. Sounds great! What’s your reason for performing it in a restaurant setting?

Mary: This is an intimate, and, I hope, witty (the wit is Dorothy’s) entertainment, and better suited to a restaurant. Dorothy Parker thrived in the era of the great Manhattan cocktailsMary-Kenny-Pic and the smoke-filled speakeasies, so we’ll try to recapture something of that….

Jackie: What is it about Dorothy Parker that particularly appeals to you?

Mary: My sister had a book of her comic-sardonic poetry and I read it when I was 14, and it opened up a sassy world beyond the confines of convent school and suburban Dublin…

Jackie: As well as being an acclaimed poet, short story writer and satirist, Dorothy Parker was probably best known for her wit and wisecracks.  Do you identify with her in this?

Mary: I was devastated when I read her remark that: “Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses!” And a challenge to prove Dotty wrong on that one….

Jackie: Do you have a favourite Dorothy Parker quote?

Mary: When the phone bleeps, I sometimes think of her reaction to a telephone ringing: “What fresh hell is this?” She had a darker side, struggled with drink and depression too…

Jackie: Are you currently working on any other projects? Any books, plays or performances?

Mary: My play about Winston Churchill and Michael Collins “Allegiance” is touring in Ireland with Sasta productions. It will be in Derry on 26th April.  As Derry is the City of Culture it’s lovely to have it there, and there have been good responses from Northern Audiences. And in June a London theatre group is doing a rehearsed reading of “I Am Eva Braun” – a one-woman play about Hitler’s wife and her sister which I’ve written. The greatest pleasure a writer can have, in my opinion, is to hear an actor speak your words…

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