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Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” a play set on a remote island off the West coast of Ireland in 1934, opens the weekend of February 3-8 (black Sunday) at the College of Eastern Utah’s Geary Theatre.
The play is a strange comic tale in the great tradition of Irish storytelling. As word arrives on Inishmaan that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island of Inishmore to film Man of Aran, the one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of this daily life and the endless ridicule of the other islanders.
The play is full of rich, earthy characters that accurately represent the remote and primitive way of life found in the Aran Islands. The line between cruelty and kindness is very thin, but uplifting in the end, admits veteran Director Todd Olsen.
Produced many times since it was written, reviewers for The New York Post wrote, “McDonagh’s.comic talent appears unlimited, and he also has a way.of mixing up his humor with a touch of the poet and a profound sense of tragedy always dangerously lurking on comedy’s untidy fringe. In short, young McDonagh is a playwright to reckon with.”
A review in the The New Yorker wrote, “McDonagh’s storytelling style has the clarity and power of a fable. Each character enters not only with his own idiosyncrasy but with his own distinct idiom. McDonagh skillfully juggles rhythms and repetitions so as to illuminate the sadness, defensiveness and longing for connection underneath the characters’ badinage.”
A London Times reviewer wrote, “McDonagh.is at root an Irish realist in the tradition of Synge, O’Casey and Friel. He is also a born storyteller with a precocious sense of dramatic structure,” while the New York Observer review had, “Mr. McDonagh [is] a realist with rich gifts.[He] is immensely talented and bizarre.”
CEU’s cast includes Kerron Mitchell, Kennedy Evan Byrd, Matthew Lee Bitner, Bo Brady, Mike Mutchler, Angie Roundy, Jacob Dickey, Tomás Garcia and Diana Halford. The production is stage managed by Scott Westwood.
Curtain is 7:30 p.m. each evening. Olsen adds, this play contains mature language and subject matter. Reservations can be made by calling (435) 613.5334.