Gary Lydon to star in new production by Eamonn Colfer
Black Lead, a new two-act play by local playwright Eamonn Colfer, starring the Wexford actor Gary Lydon, will be staged at the Jerome Hynes Theatre in the National Opera House in early February.
Black Lead was the name given to a man who roamed the back roads, towns and fairs of Wexford for around 30 years after the First World War.
In his book Wexford in the Rare Old Times, the historian Nicky Furlong wrote: 'Of all the mysteries that County Wexford has thrown up or absorbed and of all the strange wandering characters that it nourished none compared with Black Lead. He had an immense beard and whatever the reason, he covered himself, his clothes and bag in the substance that gave him his name - black lead. No one ever knew his identity, surname or Christian name, and something in his demeanour forbade trespass.'
The play is an imagining of what might have happened to any individual who trespassed on Black Lead's desire for privacy. It tells of a formative encounter between Black Lead and J, another itinerant, fresh from begging on the continent.
The role of J is played by Gary Lydon, who started his career in the first production Billy Roche's play, A Handful of Stars. He played Patrick in The Clinic for many years and has appeared in many Irish films including The Guard and Calvary as well as Warhorse, directed by Stephen Spielberg.
Black Lead is played by John Crosbie, who also featured, along with Gary,in the first production of A Handful of Stars. John has acted in hundreds of plays, winning several best actor awards on the All-Ireland circuit.
The production will run in the National Opera House from February 7 to 10 at 8 p.m each night along with a preview on Wednesday, February 6 and a matinee on Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m.