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Local Resident Stars In Lady From Limerick

Attaining the perfect body or face with a quick injection or few incisions is a trend in today’s society, but how do you know that the person doing the procedure is as qualified as they claim? Disastrous tales of plastic surgery have been exposed by TV shows, documentaries and magazines, and is now the plot of an upcoming play starring Hicksville’s Deborah Rupy.

Next month, Rupy will star as the title character in Lady from Limerick which premieres at the Theater for the New City in Manhattan. Based on a true story and written for the stage by Plainview resident, Claude Solnik, the play centers around a woman from a small farm town in Ireland. She takes a secret trip to New York City, to undergo a facelift as a rare treat to herself and a surprise for her husband. However, the procedure goes wrong and the next morning, she ends up on life support. The play flashes between her family’s visit to New York and her own memories. While the play centers on a tragic event, Rupy says there are deeper, happier themes.

“It’s about family and secrets and wanting to be the best person you can be,” said Rupy. “She had a lot of desire to be the person she knew she was and thought this would be a good thing to do.”

Solnick agrees, saying that while the play does have a tragic ending, the majority of it is about family and relationships. It also puts a spotlight on the healthcare system.

“It’s a powerful story. Everyone deals with the healthcare system and doctors aren’t gods. The best ones know that, but the worst ones sometimes think they are,” says Solnick. “The play shows that you have to be an active participant in your own health care, you can’t just be a consumer.”

Solnick decided to write the play after reading a New York Times article about Irishwoman Kathleen Kelly Cregan, who died after coming to New York City for a face lift with a media friendly doctor she thought was reputable. Little did she know the doctor had settled more than 30 malpractice suits.

“There was a big emotional impact. I kept thinking about it,” Solnick says. “I thought it was personal and universal, and it made sense to explore it as a play.”

For Rupy, the chance to play Cregan was years in the making. She had read the part for Solnik several years ago and because of a year spent in Ireland back in her college days, had always felt an attachment to the country and anything having to do with it. However, production of the play got put on the back burner as other projects came up, but when Solnik told her a few months ago that he was finally putting on the play she had read for years ago, she jumped at the chance.

“It’s nice to be able to represent this woman,” said Rupy. “And it’s even more endearing that it’s based on a real woman and family. The sweetness of the storyline really appealed to me.”  

Because the play is based on a true story, Rupy says there is an added challenge.

“You want to be true to that character, because you’re representing someone,” she said.

While Rupy says she would never undergo plastic surgery, she says there are parts of the Lady from Limerick in every woman.

“Every woman wants to be the best person they can be. Or the person they see or think about when they see themselves in the mirror. In our life, there are some limits — like physical or financial limits — but your hope is to always be the best person you can,” she said.

Rupy is no stranger to the stage, having acted with several Long Island theater companies. Lady from Limerick marks her Manhattan debut and Rupy says she is looking forward to opening night.

“I’m very pleased to be doing this show, it’s such an exciting experience,” Rupy says.

Check out Rupy in Lady from Limerick April 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m.; or April 13 and 20 at 3 p.m. at the Theater for the New City at 155 First Avenue in Manhattan. For more information, visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net/limerick.htm