Women in Arms


Audiences recently experienced a taste of Irish mythology with Berry College Theatre Company’s performance of “Women in Arms” by Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy.

The play is based on the epic poem “Táin Bo Cuailgne” and invites the audience to imagine the role of women in Irish folklore. This was the first time that the show has been performed in the United States.

The show focuses on four unique women: Nessa, Macha, Deirdre and Maeve. The story moves from castles and camps to forest and farms and is interwoven with a popular myth about two fighting men. Their transformation into various animals and their fight influences many small events throughout the play.

“Playing Nessa was exhilarating,” stated freshman Sara Arms. “She changes so drastically throughout the play and to be able to portray that transformation was not only a great experience as an actor, but as a woman.”

“Women in Arms” is the last Berry production directed by retiring Associate Professor of Theatre John Countryman, who has been studying and teaching theater for the past 50 years. 

“Theatre, in fact, may be our salvation,” Countryman remarked in the director’s notes. “It is a place where we may cultivate our authentic voice and where challenging the status quo is not only accepted but also encouraged.”

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Written by Student Public Relations Assistant Victoria Mashburn. Photos by student photographer Lauren Neumann.