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★★★★ winning production
Redtwist shocks and charms with equal ferocity
Review by Katy Walsh
The thing about the Irish is
we enjoy a good story. The bigger the yarn, the bigger the
appeal. We amuse ourselves and each other with vivid tales of
things that actually happened, could have happened or we wanted to
happen. And we find stories are best told with a pint of humor and a
shot of mischief.
Redtwist Theatre presents The Cripple of Inishmaan.
Billy has a deformed hand and foot. In his small Irish hometown,
he is called ‘Crippled Billy.’ It seems cruel but it’s not suppose
to be. The village embraces a blunt sensibility. They call
it like it is. Billy’s aunts discuss his romantic quandary.
They know he has no prospects because he’s crippled, ugly and stares at
cows. And it’s not just his aunts describing his bleak
future. Everyone talks about it… behind his back and to his
face. They tell stories about Billy’s questionable health and dead
parents. When an American filmmaker arrives at a neighboring
island, Billy decides to change his story completely. The Cripple of Inishmaan shocks and charms with equal ferocity.
Playwright Martin McDonagh
imagines a day-in-the-life for the inhabitants of an Irish island in
1934. McDonagh creates a whole village of quirky characters drawn
together in isolation and solidarity. Everyone knows everyone’s
business. They gossip. They mock. They ridicule. They
are family by geographical constraints. They aren’t ever 'on their
best behavior for company’ because there are never any visitors.
McDonagh lets his town be completely itself. The dialogue is sharp
in wit and insults. Under the expert direction of Kimberly Senior, the talented cast become the eccentric villagers.
There is no formality or speech laced in political correctness.
The conversation is just the natural, unguarded routine of the town
inhabitants. It’s their cruel and usual standard that makes the dark comedy hilarious.
Aided by dialect coach Eva Breneman, the ensemble speaks fluent blarney. In the lead, Josh Salt (Billy) captivates
trying to change convention. A deformed Salt transfixes with a
poignant transformation from persecuted to oppressor to survivor to
victim. Even throughout his moments of vulnerable despair, Salt
endears with a beautiful underlying hopefulness. Another standout
is the vicious performance of Baize Buzan (Helen). A
bright-smiling Buzan goes from cheeky to bitchy with disconcerting
ease. The rebel-rousing Buzan continues to heighten the comedic
absurdity. In a supporting role, Kathleen Ruhl (Mammy)
hysterically defies her son’s plans. Ruhl is one tough, drinking
matriarch that won’t go down without a fight. And that’s the crux
of all the characters. They may be a bunch of eejits,
but they are all resilient.
Last year, I saw The Cripple
of Inishmaan at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. I thoroughly enjoyed
McDonagh’s play performed by Ireland’s Druid Theatre Company. But I have
to say, I loved this Redtwist version more!
I couldn’t always understand the Druid cast’s native tongue. So, I
lost some of the plot points. McDonagh has multiple twists in
this play. Through Redtwist’s masterful storytelling, I heard,
understood and loved every word. For me, The Cripple of Inishmaan is best told by locals pretending to be other locals.
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reviewed by Tom Williams, chicagocritic.com
Wicked humor and savage truths mark dark Irish comedy
The folks at Redtwist Theatre continue to mount fine shows featuring terrific
sets (here by Jack Magaw), expert Irish brogues (dialect coaching by
Eva Breneman) and tight staging by Kimberly Senior with an outstanding
cast. We are taken back to one of the Aran Islands off the Irish
coast at Inishmaan in 1934 as an American film crew shoots “Man of Aran”
around Inishmaan. Kate (Jan Ellen Graves) and Eileen (Debra Rodkin) run
a little store on the island. Johnnypateenmike (Brian Parry) is
the village gossip who barters “news” for eggs. His daily visits relieve
the boredom of rural Irish life.
When Johnnypateenmike tells about the
arrival of the American movie makers, Helen (Baize Buzan) and her
brother Bartley (Patrick C. Whalen) are determined to get Babbybobby
(Chris Rickett) to row them ashore to Inishmaan so they can audition for
the Yanks. Cripple Billy (Josh Salt) is also determined to leave
the island and search for a new adventure as a possible film star. He
congers up a plot to motivate Babbybobby to allow him aboard the boat to
Inishmaan. Billy is tired of all the verbal abuse and ridicule from the
villagers concerning his deformed hand and crippled leg.
This often darkly funny story is filled with vicious drama, extreme truths with doses of poignant humanity and violent reactions.
We see the realistic side of the ignorant rural Irish. McDonagh’s plays
are devoid of the idealistic rustic sentimentality often associated
with Irish drama. The Cripple of Inishmaan
contains several surprising turns among twists of fate. The work
contains mythic Irish fatalism as it uses lyrical language to convey
cruel yet heartwarming events. McDonagh blends humor with brutality to
tell his honest slice-of-life Irish stories.
The characters here are colorful,
eccentric and so Irish. From Mammy (Kathleen Ruhl) Johnnypateenmike’s 90
year old drunken mother – to Kate who talks to a stone -to cruel
Helen who enjoys breaking eggs over her brother’s head -to Billy who has
to endure the savage jokes and nasty name calling–all are
struggling to escape the boredom of rural life. Josh
Salt’s empathetic Cripple Billy and Brian Parry’s hilarious turn as the
town gossip are the featured performances among the fine ensemble work
It is a pleasure to see a major work being so well staged and performed as The Cripple of Inishmaan is at Redtwist Theatre. They continue to mount outstanding works at their intimate Rogers Park theatre. No wonder that their last twelve shows have been Jeff Recommended.
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reviewed by Zac Thompson
Martin McDonagh deftly balances sentiment and cruelty in this
Irish-gothic folktale about an orphan who longs to escape the Aran
Islands village where his gossipy, hardhearted neighbors know him as
Cripple Billy. Filled with unexpected twists and characters who can't
stop telling and revising stories, the play at once satirizes and
celebrates the grand Irish tradition of making shit up. It would've been
easy for director Kimberly Senior to go the quaint-and-colorful route.
But she and her cast avoid turning the townsfolk into merry blarney
peddlers, thus preserving the script's dry humor and unpredictability.
Jack Magaw's stone-cottage set strikes just the right note, managing to
look stark and cozy at the same time.
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reviewed by Rob Underwood
“Ireland isn’t idyllic, and the Aran
Islands aren’t meant to be a tourist trap… Inishmaan isn’t supposed to
be an escape but a prison–something nasty, brutal and short.” So says
the dramaturg’s note on the playbill of Redtwist Theatre’s newest
production. The near-claustrophobic theater space, with stark grey stone
for the walls and floor and a spartan collection of set pieces, makes
for an immediate confrontation with Inishmaan’s nastiness. It is once
the play begins, however, that we see the boundaries and limits between
brutality and humor toyed with and eventually spit on. Though the words
are famed playwright Martin McDonagh’s, Kimberly
Senior’s direction and the excellent ensemble skillfully extract
the provincial humor that makes these brutish and rough figures fully
The cast as a whole is excellent, but Josh Salt’s performance as the eponymous cripple Billy deserves specific mention.
On top of his physical malady, we quickly learn that Billy was orphaned
shortly after his birth; the rumors entrenched in Inishmaan allude to
suicide and bags full of rocks thrown overboard. There’s a good deal
more wrong with Billy, but the final sequences of the play (in addition
to establishing this as one of recent history’s great tragicomedies)
undoubtedly satisfy best when the audience knows as little as possible.
Salt succeeds in making us believe that despite all he’s suffered, he
still has hopes for and believes he can attain a better life. Perhaps it
is due to Salt’s youth (he’s still only in his third year at Columbia
College) that he makes it seem that Inishmaan depends on Billy not just
for a hearty laugh, but for a certain spiritual presence that reveals
itself over the course of the play.
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★★★ Reviewed by Dan Jakes
Martin McDonagh’s portrait of rural Irish life in the 1930s is uncharacteristically hopeful
Wander into Redtwist without taking a close look at the playbill, and
you might mistake carnage-by-the-pound writer Martin McDonagh’s
uncharacteristically tender depiction of 1934 Ireland for something by
Brian Friel. Sure, there are a few blood packs, offed animals and
relentless bullies—it’s not exactly Dancing at Lughnasa—but McDonagh
explores something different here, a sense of wanderlust and community.
The Irish playwright also gives his titular “cripple” (Josh Salt,
awfully handsome for a character we’re assured can never find a wife)
something you don’t often see in McDonagh’s more acerbic works: hope.
Qualified hope, at least.
Self-ordained town meddler Johnnypateenmike (the reliable Brian Parry),
whose gossip is typically limited to banal observations and petty feuds,
spreads the word that American filmmakers are casting Irish locals for
Robert Flaherty’s documentary Man of Aran. Against the doubts of his
surrogate aunts (Debra Rodkin and Jan Ellen Graves), vicious crush
(Baize Buzan) and his own deteriorating health, “cripple Billy” voyages
to Inishmore in hopes of escaping his village’s mundanity and pursuing
an unlikely life in the U.S. McDonagh’s script paints a surprisingly
empathetic portrait of a deeply insecure and flawed village, and
director Kimberly Senior maintains a sense of urgency and comedy even
when the story lacks immediate conflict.
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Highly Recommended ★★★★★
reviewed by Al Bresloff
Storefront theaters of Chicago are
amazing! In these little “black box” theaters, Chicago audiences get to
witness some of the best productions that one can see. What is also
amazing is that some of the productions that they transfer from large
,big budget venues, are more realistic in the intimate setting of the
“black box”. Such is the latest production of redtwist theatre, that
cozy little theater located on Bryn Mawr that pledges to do “white hot
drama, in a tiny black box, with a little red twist” and their sterling
production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan”. This
production, directed by Kimberly Senior (to perfection, I might add) tells the story of a small town and “cripple Billy” (a powerful performance by newcomer,Josh Salt- redtwist keeps finding solid talent!), a physically challenged young man, who is the target of the town’s jokes. He has been raised by his “aunts”Kate (the always reliable Jan Ellen Graves) and Eileen (deftly handled by Debra Rodkin) who are not really blood relatives.
As McDonagh weaves his dramatic tale
about this young man and his circumstances, we learn a great deal about
his deceased parents, who , as the story goes, drowned on a boat as they
fled for America without him. There is some mystery to the actual
events of this event that come out slowly, but make sense when we are
made aware of the actual fatal day. When it is part of the local news ( a
job that is handled by Johnnypateenmike (Brian Parry continues to amaze me with his ability to play almost any type of character)
that an American film company is going to be in the twon of Inishmaan
in search of talent for a movie they are about to shoot, the locals
decide to see if they can get in the film. Billy convinces the local
boat owner, Babbybobby (a strong performance by Chris Rickett)
to take him with. He earns the right to go to America, as they
feel a cripple in the role will be something different. This rise
to fame make sthe townspeople show him some new respect.
He is gone for some time and becomes
very ill while in America, the locals have no idea if he is alive or
dead as there has been no contact. When he does come back, without
having taken the role, it matters not to him as he now feels differently
about himself and in fact, respects himself for the first time in his
life. But we, the audience ,now learn some truths about the events of
the past and some of the townspeople as we watch the changed Billy
emerge. I do not want to give away the ending of this heartwarming
story, but we see the others in the town for who they really are and the
love and the caring of the “aunts” that have raised Billy to adulthood.
The other characters in this strong production are Mammy (the hysterical Kathleen Ruhl- great comic timing)
as Johnnypateenmike’s mother, Chuck Spencer as Doctor McSharry, Patrick
C. Whalen as Bartley and Baize Buzan (an incredible performance) as his
sister Helen, the town bully.
This is a two plus hours of intimate storytelling, and Senior
captures every word of McDonagh’s script with her strong cast. The set
by Jack Magaw (who also did the lighting) is incredible when you think of the size of the theater.He has even brought a boat on stage! Christopher Kriz handles the sound and original music which is both hauntingly beautiful and very Irish.
This is the second time I have seen this play, the first being at
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier, which was a large scale, big
budget production, a little over a year ago. This one, in this little
“black box” topped that one and should be on your "to see" list.
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reviewed by Catey Sullivan
Chicago Theatre Review Examiner
In the playwright
Martin McDonagh's Ireland, you’ll find no charming leprechauns or
whimsical queries about how things are in Glocca Morra. The Emerald Isle
of McDonagh’s dramatic world is a place of violence, cruelty, dead ends
and the sort of pitch-black humor that can only result from years of
frustration and hardship. So it is in The Cripple of Inishmaan,
set in the barren, rocky landscape of the Aran Islands and centering on
the titular lad’s attempts to break free of a harshly limiting world.
Directed by Kimberly Senior for A Redtwist Theatre, The Cripple of Inishmaan is steeped in comingled hope, despair and rage. It is also darkly funny
in its depiction of an isolated rural village upended by the arrival of
Hollywood movie makers who ignite pipe dreams in islanders hoping to be
discovered and whisked off to America for a life of movie stardom.
Set in the 1930s, The Cripple of Inishmaan
is very much about the Irish gift of gab and storytelling. But the
stories here – how Cripple Billy’s parents died, the true state of
Cripple Billy’s health, the outcome of his unlikely screen test – these
and other matters twine truth with tall tales, with the former constantly knocking the audience off-guard
as the latter is revealed to be less than reliable information. Among
McDonagh’s considerable gifts is his ability to keep surprising the
audience as he reveals first one side and then another within the nexus
of contradictions that make up human nature. Just as you feel you’ve
seen the hard truth, McDonagh reveals yet another angle of unvarnished
reality, overturning facts like stones.
Chief among the storytellers in
lonesome Aran [Inishmaan] is JohnnypateenMike (Brian Parry), the village
gossip. Going from house to house and demanding payment in eggs and
cuts of meat in exchange for scraps of news, Johnnypateen seems
throughout to be a meddling, manipulative and wholly smarmy version of a
backwater Hollywood gossipmonger as he gleefully relates "news" of
sheep born without ears, petty feuds and – most momentously – the
arrival of the Hollywood film crew on the mainland in nearby Inishmore.
It’s that last news that Cripple Billy (Josh Salt) seizes on as a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape a place where everyone calls
him “Cripple Billy” and has relegated him to a life of lonesome solitude
since no woman would ever have a man as misshapen and odd as he. As for
that oddness, Cripple Billy isn’t only set apart by his orphan status
and twisted limbs. He also loves to read, an activity viewed as
downright freakish by the village folk.
It’s through a bit of manipulation of
his own that Cripple Billy finagles a ride to Inishmore for the
filming, setting the daft but loving aunts who raised him into an
obsessive state of worry that leaves one talking to stones and the other
gorging secretly on imported penny candies.
While The Cripple of Inishmaan
doesn’t lack for McDonagh’s signature elements of bloodshed and hostile
hopelessness, it’s also marked by a sweetness and an undeniable sense
of close-knit community. Inishmaan may be defined in large part by its
brutal landscape and the casual cruelty of its residents, but it is also
a place of undeniable camaraderie. Even when they're clubbing each
other with sticks and eggs, the people of Inishmaan are bound
together both by the hardscrabble living the island demands and
its isolated landscape. The happiness is far beneath the surface
most of the time, but director Senior skillfully brings it to the
surface without compromising the harsh daily brutalities of life in a
place that’s little more than a rocky outcropping.
Redtwist's cast is uniformly strong. As Cripple Billy, Salt displays a winning mix of strength and a vulnerability.
Cripple Billy has both an intensely yearning wanderlust in his desire
to break free of Inishmaan and an unbreakable connection to the only
place he’s ever called home. Salt captures those contradictory impulses
ably. As for Cripple Billy’s aunties
Kate and Eileen, Jan Ellen Graves and Debra Rodkin manage to capture the
doting and dottiness of a pair that could easily slip into blathering
Irish stereotype. That slippage doesn’t happen here, and it’s a
testament to both Senior’s astute direction and Graves’ and Rodkin’s
ability to bring complexity to potentially one-dimensional roles.
include Chris Rickett as the good-hearted (to a point) boatman
Babbybobby and Kathleen Ruhl who gives the role of Johnnypateen’s
perpetually drunken Mammy with an acid-etched edge that’s memorable in
all the right ways. As the son who is trying to kill his overbearing
mother with drink, Brian Parry makes JohnnypateenMike as obnoxious as
insufferable and cluelessly self-centered as a spoiled child, making a
final scene revelation about Johnnypateen all the more moving.
Part of McDonagh’s considerable gift lies in his ability to defy expectations. Just when you think you know where The Cripple of Inishmaan
is going and who its characters truly are, the author shifts the
narrative rug beneath your feet and reveals another, unexpected
perspective. It’s those shifts that propel the production toward its
mildly bloody but intensely ominous final moments. It speaks to the
power of the cast that every last corkscrewing revelation seems as
natural as the bleak, beautiful landscape of Inishmaan.
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Unlikely warmth in 'Inishmaan'
By Kerry Reid, Special to the Tribune
Martin McDonagh's sardonic portraits
of rural Irish village life take the happy-go-lucky and comradely
eccentrics made popular in films such as "Waking Ned Devine" and put
them through an acid wash, revealing all the pettiness and cruelty that
is possible when people live in reduced — and far too close —
circumstances. But occasionally, McDonagh allows his characters flashes
of fellow feeling. Kimberly Senior's
intimate staging of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" for Redtwist Theatre
brings those strands of stunted compassion to the foreground in a way
that was lacking from the Druid Theatre's magisterial production at
Chicago Shakespeare last year.
It's 1934, and the tiny isle of
Inishmaan is atizzy with news that Hollywood has come calling: filmmaker
Robert Flaherty (who directed the documentary "Nanook of the North")
has arrived to shoot "Man of Aran," a part-fiction, part-fact look at
the hardscrabble lives on the rocky shores and dangerous seas of the
Aran Islands. For sensitive handicapped orphan Billy Claven (Josh Salt),
known colloquially as "Cripple Billy," the film provides an escape
hatch from the gibes of the locals and the boredom of a world where
watching cows is the highlight of his day.
But this being McDonagh's Ireland,
Billy's winning lottery ticket to La-La Land doesn't play out as he
imagines. The consequences aren't nearly as grim here as in "The
Pillowman," McDonagh's dark look at a tortured writer, which got a
transcendent production at Redtwist under Senior's hand a couple of
years ago. Her cast, despite some uneven dialects, generally finds some
breathing room between the mordant quips to quietly capture the
ceaseless drudgery and blighted hopes of the characters. Jack Magaw's stone-cottage set and sickish lighting suggest the cheerless confines of these lives.
reveals flashes of calculation. Despite his broken body, he's not
entirely a figure of pathos. As Eileen and Kate, the two women who have
fostered him since infancy, Debra Rodkin and Jan Ellen Graves provide
well-crafted takes on two cliches of Irish womanhood: the wisecracking
earth mother and the moony mystic. Brian Parry's tiresome gossip,
Johnnypateenmike, blends gassy self-importance with the naked need for
communal affirmation, and Kathleen Ruhl nearly steals the show as
"You shouldn't laugh at other
people's misfortunes," Billy admonishes one of his peers. "Why?" is the
bewildered response. Senior's take on McDonagh's fractious and
loquacious yokels provides a decent amount of laughs, but it's the
glancing moments of offhanded kindness that breathe some warmth into
this unsentimental tale of dashed dreams and duplicity.
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Redtwist puts an intimate spin on dark humor of McDonagh’s rough and quirky ‘Inishmaan’ ★★★★
By Nancy Malitz
The last time Martin McDonagh’s
brutally funny play “The Cripple of Inishmaan” came to Chicago, it was
in March 2011 at the spacious main stage of the Chicago Shakespeare
Druid, a Galway-based theater company
that tours widely, had designed its traveling production for proscenium
theaters, and so the actors kept their physical distance from the
audience while creating wickedly exaggerated characters. The story, set
in the ’30s, concerns a sparsely populated island off Galway Bay whose
eccentric citizens become transfixed by the stunning news that Hollywood
big shots have arrived on the next island over, to recruit locals for
the shooting of a whaling adventure “filim.”
Now it’s Redtwist Theatre’s turn, in
their claustrophobic little space in the Bryn Mawr Historic District,
which turns out to be equally fine for the purpose, but in a different
This time we’re right inside the
rustic walls of the little Inishmaan store that’s inhabited by the
stubborn aunties of Cripple Billy. Director
Kimberly Senior brings us face to face with these nosy pessimists and
all the other colorful characters in this tight-knit and ready-fisted
community. They seem rugged and plenty quirky, but entirely human. It’s as if we’re getting a chance to know them a few decades before the story-tellers spun them larger into legend.
Given McDonagh’s savage humor, his
delight in shock and his tolerance for pouring buckets of blood over
intimate moments — his film “In Bruges” is a case in point — there can
be little doubt he intended the denizens of Inishmaan to be every bit as
outlandish as Druid made them. Yet
even McDonagh would find himself enchanted by the gentler humor and
tragic grace of the story as it plays out in this winning Chicago
Cripple Billy, the play’s title
character, was for Druid a boy with withered extremities and
pathetically twisted looks so alarming his aunties feared he’d never
marry. At Redtwist, Billy is played by the strapping Josh Salt, whose
flaws seem fairly minor given the over-protective worries of his aunties (portrayed with dotty charm by Debra Rodkin and Jan Ellen Graves).
Slippy Helen in Druid’s production is
a tall town bully who you readily believe has been terrorizing people
ever since since she was accosted by a priest at the age of 6. At
Redtwist, Helen’s a spunky, petite thing (the delightful Baize Buzan)
whom you’re actually rooting for as she breaks raw eggs over people’s
noggins. Her younger brother, Bartley — who in Druid’s production is so
singly-obsessed with candies as to seem mentally challenged — is at
Redtwist a multi-dimensional pal to both Billy and Helen. (Bartley’s
played with heart by Patrick C. Whalen.)
A subplot that takes charming flight
here is the saga of Johnnypateenmike, the island newscaster and
gossipmonger (not necessarily in that order) and the 90-year-old Mammy
he’s been plying with booze for decades in hopes of hastening her early
demise. So close are we to Kathleen Ruhl
as the cheerfully cooperative alcoholic that we can see her ruddy face
and lip-smacking eagerness as she prepares to please her son by draining
another half bottle of the stiff stuff before noon. The
riotous interplay between Brian Parry as the enabling son and Chuck
Spencer as the horrified doctor, who’s been called to Mammy’s bedside,
is a fine run of drinking jokes in the best Irish tradition.
So it’s in this intimate
anti-Mayberry that we learn about butchered cats and strangled geese and
get some hints about the truth surrounding the death of Billy’s parents
while he was yet an infant. The sea is deadly, life is hard and
tenderness comes to Inishmaan rarely, as a fragile sprout that pokes
through windblown turf.
Billy’s oppression is real, stuck as
he is in a community that pushes people into lifelong pigeon-holes
before they’re out of childhood. His need to leave is underscored in
many ways. Two excellent scenes in the
play are confrontations between Josh Salt’s Billy and the boatsman
Babbybobby, brilliantly played by Chris Rickett as a struggling widower,
taciturn without, boiling within. In their first encounter, Billy is on
a mission to convince Babbybobby — however he can — to ferry him to the
island where the Hollywood crew is said to be hiring. The second time,
Billy will have some serious explaining to do.
As Billy’s “filim” adventure takes its perilous twists and turns, life goes on in Inishmaan. Senior’s
sure directorial hand is apparent in her attention to small town
behavior, as time affords endless examination and re-examination and
little of any import escapes shared scrutiny.
The leisurely pace
belies smart, swift scene changes in minimal space made possible by the
room-transforming traps, flaps, drop-downs and chiaroscuro effects of
set and lighting designer Jack Magaw. So believable is the picture
created of a rustic fixation on all events big and small, that it comes
as a distinct pleasure to learn certain secrets on this particular
island have been well kept after all.
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Skokie actors explore life on Irish islet
Article by Myrna Petlicki
The residents of an isolated Irish
island are hungry for news and actor Brian Parry, as Johnnypateenmike,
is glad to provide it for a price in Redtwist Theatre’s production of
“The Cripple of Inishmaan” by Martin McDonagh. The show runs through
June 24 in Chicago.
“Johnny considers himself a
journalist,” Skokie resident Parry said. “He’s one of a small community
where everybody has to find their function in order to scrape out a way
to survive on this little island. The only function he seems to have
cultivated is the ability to go snooping out bits of information that he
turns into news reports that he takes from locale to locale.”
One of his stops is the general store
owned by two sisters, Kate and Eileen, who give him food or drink for
his updates. Skokie resident Jan Graves, who is Redtwist’s managing
director, plays Kate.
“She’s got a kind of love-hate
relationship with everybody she knows,” Graves said of Kate. “There’s a
tedium to life there which necessitates the characters finding ways to
liven things up. That could be by complaining or magnifying the
situation by using humor and throwing jabs at one another.”
In addition to being the proprietor
of the local store, Kate is an adoptive aunt to Cripple Billy, an
orphaned, physically challenged young man. “Cripple Billy is a burden on
her but she loves him dearly,” Graves said.
Kate’s charge becomes swept up in the
excitement when the townspeople learn that a Hollywood crew is in the
area to film a movie.
Of course, everyone learns about the
filming from Johnnypateenmike. “This is perhaps the biggest truly
genuine piece of news he’s ever come across,” Parry said. “He’s
definitely going to make it pay off by getting the news out to everybody
and getting paid for sharing that information. He’s bringing a
tremendous excitement and opportunity, he feels, to a group of people
who don’t have much to be excited about.”
Parry understands their situation
because, in preparation for the role, he visited one of the larger of
the Aran Islands over the summer, which include the real Inishmaan. He
described these islands as “big rocks sitting in the Atlantic off the
coast of Galway. Inishmaan is about three miles across.”
Parry and his wife toured Inishmore,
the island where the filming of “Man of Aran,” the event referred to in
the play, actually took place.
“We rode around on
a bike and we
the range of weather conditions that being stuck out there
in the middle of the sea makes you prone to,” Parry said. The play is
set in 1934, when conditions were particularly bad because there was no
electricity or running water on the islands at that time.
As always, Redtwist has created a set
that will immerse the audience in the world of the play. “The audience
is on both sides within the stone cottage that most of the action takes
place in,” Graves said. “So, they’re close to the actors. A boat
actually comes into the setting. There’s a shop door with a bell on it
that announces everyone’s arrival. They really will feel part of the
stone and dirt environment that’s typical of the Island of Inishmaan.”
Parry has been in a number of
productions at Redtwist including “Shining City,” for which he received a
Jeff Award as Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He said he particularly
likes Redtwist’s play selection.
Graves said that the company chose
“The Cripple of Inishmaan” because, “We wanted to do another edgy play,”
particularly for director Kimberly Senior, who staged the company’s
productions of “Bug” (Jeff recommended) and “The Pillowman” (Jeff
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May 17, 2012
Redtwist Theatre recently received a Jeff Recommendation for its current production of The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, which runs through June 24. It marks the 12th show in a row to be recommended by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee for outstanding work.
In addition, Redtwist has received 9 Jeff nominations including a best production nomination for Opus, which will also be remounted at Theater on the Lake during the week of July 4, 2012.
Beginning with the 2009-2010 season opener, Lettice and Lovage,
all our regular season, Jeff-eligible shows have been Jeff recommended.
The list, beginning with the current production, is as follows:
NEXT JEFF SEASON
May-June 2012: The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, directed by Kimberly Senior
CURRENT JEFF SEASON
Feb-Mar 2012: The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later by Moises Kaufman/Tectonic Theater Project, directed by Greg Kolack
Dec 2011-Jan 2012: Opus
by Michael Hollinger, directed by Jason W. Gerace. 5 Jeff nominations:
Production; Ensemble; Director-Jason W. Gerace; Sound Design-Chris Kris;
Artistic Specialization-Zhanna Bullock, Music Coach
Sept-Oct 2011: Elling
by Simon Bent, directed by Steve Scott. 1 Jeff Nomination: Principal
July-Aug 2011: That Face by Polly Stenham, directed
by Michael Colucci.
May-July 2011: Bug
by Tracy Letts directed and designed by Kimberly Senior and Jack
Magaw. 3 Jeff Nominations: Principal Actress-Jacqueline Grandt;
Scenic Design-Jack Magaw & Kimberly Senior; Sound Design-Christopher
PREVIOUS JEFF SEASONS
Mar-May 2011: Man from Nebraska
by Tracy Letts, directed by Andrew Jessop. Nominated for Best
Production, Principal Actor-Chuck Spencer. Won for both Best Production
and Actor, Chuck Spencer.
Jan-Feb 2011: Shining City by Conor McPherson, directed by Joanie Schultz. Nominated for Supporting Actor-Brian Parry who won the award.
Dec 2010-Jan 2011: Lobby Hero
by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Keira Fromm. Nominated for Best
Production, Director-Keira Fromm, Principal Actor-Andrew Jessop.
Sept-Oct 2010: A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee, directed by Steve Scott. Nominated for Best Production.
Nov 2009-May 2010: The Pillowman
by Martin McDonagh, directed by Kimberly Senior. Nominations were for
Best Production, Director--Kimberly Senior, Principal Actor--Andrew
Jessop, Supporting Actor--Peter Oyloe. Peter Oyloe won the award.
Oct-Nov 2009: Lettice and Lovage by Peter Shaffer, directed by Steve Scott. Millicent Hurley was nominated for Principal Actress.
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