The Gods of the Ozarks

by Matthew Cole Kelly

World Premiere

August 20-24, 2019

The Civic Theatre Studio, Tallaght

Set in 1800’s frontier America, this fast-moving and highly theatrical black comedy examines a small-town community as it gets wrapped up in a religious furore. Jonah Hahn is the only doctor for 300 miles around … but the religious ban on cutting up dead bodies holds back his medical understanding. When his darling wife Sally gets sick and people in town start dying, Jonah has to reconsider … but his secret escapades have unexpected consequences for the whole town, including his faith-questioning daughter, a struggling pastor, an unlikely sheriff, an heiress, a drunkard and a harlot.

Featuring ghosts, grave-digging and amateur con-artistry, this hilarious tale of faith and knowledge, of grief and solace, of promises and lies, examines the battle between science and religion (even after death …)

Developed at our 2018 NEWvember Festival, AboutFACE is delighted to present the world premiere of this bold and exciting new play.

Director Anna Nugent


Lafayette Megan Day
Sally Darina Gallagher
Phoebe Maureen O’Connell
Jonah Paul Nugent
Pastor Price David Ryan
Erasmus Mark Tankersley
Isadora Kathleen Warner Yeates
Melinda Helena White


Production Manager Yvonne Ussher
Set Design Jenny Owens
Design Assistant Alessia Licate
Costume Design Tara McKeever
Lighting Design Brian Nutley
Stage Managers Faith Boucher & Fiona Cradock
Production Intern Cara Mooney
PR Bowe Communications
Sound Design Max Bley & Leon Henry
Dramaturgy Krystal Sweedman
Publicity Photography Graham Keogh
Production Photography Tad Morari
Graphic Design Charlie Kranz


“…clever, humorous and full of heart… A rich theatrical experience with plenty of laughs.” -The Irish Independent

Click tabs below for additional review excerpts.
“This world première by American writer Matthew Cole Kelly explores profound ideas of life and death with a playful touch.

It is the early 19th century in the Ozarks, Missouri. Modern medicine is in its infancy and the only local doctor, Jonah Hahn, laments his poor training. Encouraged by his poetry-writing wife, he wants to improve his knowledge by performing dissections on the dead, a practice forbidden by the church.

After a series of local deaths, Dr Hahn secretly exhumes the fresh bodies to study. The empty graves are discovered and a collective religious hysteria is triggered in the community. The subject sounds ghoulish, but the writing is clever, humorous and full of heart.

The eight cast members are all impressive. Director Anna Nugent for AboutFACE Ireland displays tremendous attention to detail. Set design by Jenny Owens …the use of the rope curtain as a portal for the dead is inspired. Language is frequently contemporary: the daughter describes things as “awesome”.

The whole giddy concoction is not tied to a realistic sense of time but exists in a realm of pure theatre, where the dead and the living intermingle. A rich theatrical experience with plenty of laughs.”

– Katy Hayes, The Irish Independent