Did you happen to see Al Capone at The Wake?

Irish Classical Theatre Company (ICTC), the Connemara Marble of Buffalo NY, is a lovely, softly lit theatre-in-the-round. The theatre hosts wonderful vintage and contemporary plays, during our exciting local theatre season. The comfortable seating around the stage provides a delightful view of the actors, who are merely feet away, and offers a truly intimate and noteworthy theatre experience.

In 2017 while photographing a rehearsal of “Design for Living”, I was struck by the theatre’s sublime beauty. The quiet grandeur of the hall and world-class acting led to a rare date night for my wife and me. It quickly became a regular addition to our annual quest for adventures during the long, dark winter months.

Irish Classical Theatre - The WakeBut ICTC also hosts another wonderful event called “The Wake” that brightens a cold winter night and helps to raise funds to benefit the Irish Classical Theatre Company. It may seem strange to some that customs of a true Irish wake make it a celebration of sorts—a time to connect all souls near and far through a blend of gaiety and grieving. A traditional Irish wake involves plenty of food, drink and song. And games are not uncommon during the gathering which culminates with a session of stories about the deceased—often entertaining and amusing—to relive fond memories and see the soul off in the brightest way possible.

Irish Classical Theatre’s annual fundraising event offers all this revelry with the bonus that nobody has actually passed on. ICTC’s The Wake is full of fun and frolic with a constant flow of Guinness (and other beverages to suit your taste), delicious food, fantastic live music, Irish dancing and a hilariously irreverent roast-style eulogy of the fictitious “dearly departed”. (On February 15, 2019, they laid “Ben Better” to rest.) When the coffin is carried out to the waiting mourners, the witty rhetoric that bubbles to the surface among seasoned theatre performers is not to be missed.

Irish Classical Theatre - Irish DancersAll the food, drink, merriment and entertainment played out this year in Buffalo’s own historic Town Ballroom. Built in the 1940’s, it has played host to the likes of Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis, among many other notables. It’s also been said that Al Capone would stop in to play cards in the basement on occasion. Some say they’ve even seen his spirit slapping down aces in the dark recesses of the lower quarters. If he’s there, I’m sure he heard the music, dancing and laughter from the main hall and popped in to see what all the hubbub was about.

Plan to attend Irish Classical Theatre’s “The Wake” in 2020. The entire evening is certain to raise your spirits. For more information on ICTC, visit irishclassical.com.

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