Dorset Theatre Festival closes season with world premiere of Ronán Noone’s ‘Thirst’

FROM LEFT, DAVID Mason, Meg Hennesy, and Kathy McCafferty star in the Dorset Theatre pro- duction of Thirst.

DORSET — The Dorset Theatre Festival’s 45th Season of professional summer theatre will conclude with the world premiere of Thirst, written by Irish-American playwright Ronán Noone and directed by the Festival’s resident playwright, Theresa Rebeck. 

Set during Eugene O’Neill’s classic Long Day’s Journey Into Night, failure, denial, and passion roil as two Irish servants, and an American chauffeur pass the day in the kitchen of the Tyrone family’s residence in 1912. As tensions rise and the past rears its head, a search for love and belonging becomes the search for “home.”

“I read a lot of new plays, and this one spoke to me instantly,” said Dorset’s artistic director, Dina Janis. “The language, humor, and depth of feeling absolutely stunned me, and it is an honor to be presenting the premiere. What a great way to conclude our return to the playhouse main stage season,” Janis said. 

The cast features Meg Hennessy as Cathleen, who has been seen Off-Broadway in five shows with the Irish Repertory Theatre, including Plough and The Stars and Shadow of a Gunman. Her television debut in the series Archive 81 was released on Netflix. 

David Mason plays Jack, and his previous Dorset credits include Table Manners (2016) and the world premiere of Dig by Theresa Rebeck (2019). His Off-Broadway credits include Theresa Rebeck’s Seared, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel (MCC), and Trick or Treat (59E59). 

Kathy McCafferty plays Bridget and has been seen in the Broadway tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater and 59E59. 

Playwright Ronán Noone’s plays have been produced at Huntington Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and internationally in the UK (London and Edinburgh), Spain, Canada, the Philippines, and Ireland. The Smuggler won the Best Playwright award at the 1st Irish Festival of New York in January 2019. The Second Girl (Thirst) was the inaugural winner of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Excellence in Playwriting Award (2015) and an Edgerton Award winner in 2014. 

In New York, Noone’s The Atheist was co-produced by The Culture Project and Ted Mann’s Circle in the Square productions, receiving Drama Desk and Drama League nominations for acting.

Director Theresa Rebeck is a widely-produced writer for stage, film, television, and novels, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and internationally. With four plays produced on Broadway, Rebeck is the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. The two-time Emmy-nominated writer returns to Dorset on the heels of co-writing the spy ensemble thriller, The 355, starring Jessica Chastain. 

As the festival’s resident playwright, Rebeck has developed more than seven productions at Dorset Theatre Festival that have gone on to other stages around the country, including 2017’s Downstairs starring Tim and Tyne Daly. 

THIRST DIRECTOR THERESA Rebeck is also the festival’s resident playwright.

This season, she returns to direct after previously directing the Festival’s 2019 award-winning world premiere of her play, Dig, and the 2016 World Premiere of her play Way of the World starring Kristine Nielsen. 

Rebeck’s Broadway credits include Bernhardt/Hamlet starring Janet McTeer, Dead Accounts starring Katie Holmes, Seminar starring Alan Rickman, and Mauritius starring F. Murray Abraham. 

Other notable plays include Poor Behavior, What We’re Up Against, and Omnium Gatherum (co-written), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. 

Her latest play, Mad House, is currently playing a critically acclaimed world premiere on London’s West End starring David Harbour and Bill Pullman.

Rebeck made her NYC directorial debut with Rob Ackerman’s play Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson at The Working Theatre and her new podcast play, Nightwatch, starring Norbert Leo Butz and Krysta Rodriguez, produced by Dorset Theatre Festival, is now available on The Broadway Podcast Network.

Rebeck is joined by scenic designers Christopher and Justin Swader, costume designer Fabian Fidel Aguilar, lighting designer Mary Ellen Stebbins, sound designer Fitz Patton, casting director Judy Bowman, C.S.A., and stage manager Avery Trunko. 

Thirst, which runs about two hours with a 15-minute intermission, began performances on Thursday, August 18, and runs through Saturday, September 3. 

Dorset Theatre Festival’s box office may be reached by calling (802) 867-2223 ext. 101, Wednesday through Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. For more information or to purchase subscriptions and tickets online, visit 

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