A staged reading of a play Lawrence University theatre arts professor Timothy X. Troy ’85 wrote while spending a year in Ireland as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar will be presented March 28 in Cloak Theater.

Run with the Hare (…and hunt with the hound) is the result of Troy’s research into the life of Dan Stapleton, whose contributions to the Irish War of Independence from 1919 to 1921 were both daring and secretive.

Troy, the J. Thomas and Julie Esch Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama and professor of theatre arts, spent the 2022-23 academic year in Ireland as the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to teach in a master’s program for stage and screen at the University College Dublin (UCD). While there, he continued his research and wrote the play.

Timothy X. Troy leads a reading of Run with the Hare (…and hunt with the hound) when it was presented by KATS Theatre Group + Barnstorm Studio at the Home Rule Club in Kilkenny, Ireland, in June.
Timothy X. Troy works with actors for a reading of Run with the Hare (…and hunt with the hound) by KATS Theatre Group + Barnstorm Studio at the Home Rule Club in Kilkenny, Ireland, in June.

The first staged reading of Run with the Hare took place in the Barnstorm Studio at the Home Rule Club in Kilkenny, Ireland, giving Troy a chance to test his Irish dialogue with Irish actors.

“The action of the play takes place in Kilkenny, so having a Kilkenny-based cast and audience, I was able to test the accuracy of all the place names, locales, and historical references, and more importantly, the associations locals make with those places and events,” Troy said. “I made a few adjustments to the play based on that feedback.”

The March 28 reading at Lawrence, set for 7 p.m., will be the first reading in the U.S. Four professional actors—Stephen Spencer (from TV series Fargo and Empire and the film Public Enemies), Olivia Gregorich ’17, Alan Kopischke, and Jacque Troy—will be joined in the cast by three Lawrence seniors, Ella Rose Schaefer, Alec Welhouse, and Jon Winkler.

Troy will direct the production and then partake in a talk-back session with the audience.

The staged reading, Troy said, is a significant step in the development of the play. It’s an opportunity for him as the playwright to hear the dialogue with fresh ears because the audience is hearing the play for the first time.

Experience the brilliance of fellow artists making theatre together in a creative and collaborative environment.

The story, Troy said, is focused on Stapleton, a three-time All-Ireland hurling champion, pharmacist, and happily married father of two. He awakens his commitment to Irish Nationalism as the First Dáil and the Irish Volunteers struggle to establish the new Irish State in 1918. From that moment until the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, Stapleton manufactures and distributes war materials and gathers important intelligence, all while winning golf tournaments, nurturing a growing family, attending to the ailments of his community, decoding messages disguised as folklore, and gathering allies among those who appear to support British occupation, Troy said.

Troy first heard about Stapleton in 2016 while visiting with friend and occasional collaborator Lucy Stapleton, Dan Stapleton’s great-granddaughter. The two attended a museum exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Troy learned that his friend’s aunt, Helen (Stapleton) Ledwidge, had written a thesis on Dan Stapleton while studying at UCD.

“Her research, additional Stapleton family letters, an unpublished memoir of Dan Stapleton’s youngest son, photos and documents, and Dan’s 1953 oral history of his experiences during the Anglo-Irish War served as my primary sources for the play,” Troy said.

He also consulted with modern Irish historians from UCD, Trinity College, and Maynooth University and explored archival material from the National Library of Ireland, the Irish Military Archives, UCD archives, and the National Folklore Collection.

Ledwidge and other Stapleton family members attended the reading of Troy’s play in Kilkenny.

“He sent me a copy of his first draft, and when I read it, I was blown away by his take on Dan's story, his grasp of Irish dialogue, humor, and events,” Ledwidge said. “He organized a first reading in Dan's old hometown of Kilkenny. The family went to see it, and it was so wonderful to see it live; we were blown away at how good the story looked and sounded on stage.”

As someone who has dedicated significant time to researching and documenting her family history, Ledwidge said she is thrilled to see her grandfather’s story come to life on stage.

“I hope when Run with the Hare is eventually performed live it will be received with great applause as it is in my opinion a great piece of writing by Tim,” she said. “We all wish him every accolade due to him and the recognition that he is indeed a great playwright.”

Troy’s year in Ireland was a return engagement. He taught there during a residency 15 years earlier.

A 1985 graduate of Lawrence, Troy has been teaching in Lawrence’s theatre arts program since 1997 (he also taught from 1989 to 1992), with a focus on acting, directing, script analysis, and playwriting.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from over 160 countries the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

On stage

What: Staged reading of Run with the Hare (…and hunt with the hound), written by Timothy X. Troy

When: 7 p.m. March 28

Where: Cloak Theater in the Music-Drama Center

Cost: Free