Leonard Cohen play by Kildare man at Moat Theatre tonight

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Leonard Cohen play by Kildare man at Moat Theatre tonight

John MacKenna and Leonard Cohen

A new play by Kildare man John Mac Kenna feauring the songs, music and writing of his friend, the late Leonard Cohen, will be in the Moat Theatre this coming Friday evening, June 30.

President Michael D Higgins and the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers attended the premiere on June 15, of Between Your Love and Mine, in Carlow.

Mr MacKenna describes the play as a requiem for young people.

Last summer, he approached his longtime friend Leonard Cohen with the idea of staging a requiem in memory of young people who had died and in honour of those who mourn their loss.

“Leonard was immediately supportive of the idea,” MacKenna says, “and told me I was free to use whatever material I found suitable. The requiem is not for Leonard.

“Rather it’s a work by him, shaped from his songs, poems and writings from his Book of Mercy.”

The requiem was inspired, in particular, by Leonard Cohen's hope-filled lines: Behold the gates of mercy, in arbitrary space, and none of us deserving the cruelty or the grace, o solitude of longing where love has been confined,come healing of the body, come healing of the mind.

Mr MacKenna worked on arranging the requiem last summer and by late October the script was in place.

“I last spoke with Leonard about the project in late October and he gave me the go-ahead. Little did either of us imagine that two weeks later he would be gone.”

Having premiered in Carlow on June 15, the play will tour to 11 other theatres across the country over the following three weeks.

Musical director is Aisling Carter and it features the voices of Eric Butler, Katie Jacques and Shane Sullivan. The band features Lucy Deegan and Meadbh Farrell on cello; Annie Rose Deegan on violin; Aisling Carter on piano and David Day on percussion.