Seamus and Katherine looking out from the coast of Leitrim (The Coast of Leitrim - L to R: Ryan Tasker, Molly Benson) Word for Word's production of Who's-Dead McCarthy: Stories by Kevin Barry at Z Below June 26 - July 21, 2024. zspace.org/barry Photo credit: Robbie Sweeny

World for Word Brings New Fiction to the Stage in SF

San Francisco’s Word for Word—known for bringing short fiction to life on the stage—announce that the work of renowned Irish author and short story master Kevin Barry will be the subject of their first full production this year, which runs from June 26 through July 21 (previews June 26, 27, 28; press opening Saturday, June 29).

As is always the case with Word for Word, their goal is to honor the author’s intent by using every word of a text, bringing the story to life for the audience through atmospheric visuals, imaginative staging, and honed performances.

The three works include Who’s-Dead McCarthy, a tale featuring a self-appointed messenger of death in a small Irish city who cannot stop himself from gleefully chronicling and gossiping about the details of the deaths of others to everyone he meets. A tale perfect for those who like their humor a wee bit dark.

In The Wintersongs two strangers meet on a train in Ireland. One, a world-weary old busybody, cautions a younger woman whose life journey has just begun as they both hurtle through the countryside under “the arc of a weak sun” heading toward Dublin. If this story were wine, its descriptor might read, “includes notes of humor, regret, anticipation and Flannery O’Connor.”

The Coast of Leitrim tells the story of a solitary Irish man who falls in love with a Polish woman after meeting her in a café. Finding himself smitten upon leaving the café, he falls down a Google-fueled rabbit hole while trying to translate her social media posts. The result is a European union of sorts between the two that grows more intense and complicated as it deepens, because well, we are our histories, both real and imagined.

Tickets at zspace.org/barry