24 May 2011

Reviving Many Lives at the Uline

Rachel Beauregard in Swampoodle by Tom Swift, presented by The Performance Corporation and Solas Nua. Photo by Ciaran Bagnall.

This week, an international theater collaboration is in residence at the Uline (3rd & M, NE) paying tribute to a small corner of our city with their eponymous show Swampoodle.  For even some long-time neighborhood residents, the mention of those two places – the building and the (former) neighborhood – conjure no recognition whatsoever, which is part of the intrigue.  Once home to a succession of now defunct hockey and basketball teams, the Uline is most famous as the site of the first Beatles concert in the US.  Today, though, it is perhaps most notable as the largest, unidentifiable building one sees as the Northeast Regional heaves out of Union Station.  The rail yard itself sits at the center of what was an Irish immigrant enclave clustered around the now filled-in Tiber Creek, which gave the spot its swampy reputation.

The creator and producers of Swampoodle promise a “never-to-be-repeated” event highlighting the Irish cultural history of the neighborhood against the eventful backdrop (figuratively and literally) of the Uline.  Running for only one week (remaining shows are May 24-28 at 8:30pm) this is a clever way to get a little DC and Irish history all stirred up in a cavernous space that not many have seen from the inside.  Tickets are available online and by phone at 1-800-494-TIXS.

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