Ardal O'Hanlon will star as Padraig Pearse in Deathwish 16: The GPO, a new farce about the 1916 Rising which will premiere at the Kilkenny Cat Laugh comedy festival this weekend.

The three-act play by Dublin author and journalist Damian Corless also stars seasoned Abbey actor Mark Lambert as Tom Clarke, Scottish comedian and BBC presenter Fred McCauley as James Connolly, and Irish comedian Chris Kent as Michael Collins. 

The play opens in Pearse's Irish college St Endas in Dublin as he plots The Rising, continues in The GPO in the week of the rebellion, and ends in Pearse's cell in Kilmainham Jail as he awaits execution along with the other signatures of The Proclamation. 

The first exploratory staging of Deathwish 16: The GPO will take place in The Hole in The Wall in Kilkenny at lunchtime on Sunday, May 31 and Corless hopes a full production will follow.

Speaking to RTÉ TEN, he said: "It's a farce inspired by Karl Marx's line about history repeating itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

"I actually did a lot of research into the 1916 Rising before putting pen to paper and while I have twisted and exaggerated a lot of things, a lot of it is mostly true.

"It ends with Pearse in his cell in Kilmainham being shown a vision of the consequences of The Rising for Ireland over the next 100 years but this being Pearse - the annoying little twerp - he demands to see the consequences over the next 200 years."  

Corless, whose books include From Clery's Clock to Wanderly Wagon: Irish History You Weren't Taught at School, says he wrote Deathwish 16: The GPO to "raise awareness of the 1916 Rising."