Monday, December 24, 2018

Holiday Auto-Flashback!

Yeah, it's pretty sad that I can post more when I'm not actually around.  Oh well, it is what it is.  I can only do what I can do.  I looked through old reviews and found a few I could auto-post while I'm home for the holidays.  Some of them aren't so bad!  If you're interested, I'll put links to other reviews of plays by this author at the bottom of the post.  But I thought this would be a good one to share today since the play takes place on Christmas Eve...

11/5/2007:  The Seafarer was an unexpected ticket (thanks, friend who couldn't use their ticket!).  If you’ll recall, the last Conor McPherson play I saw was Shining City and I still wish someone would tell me what that play was about.  Anyway, The Seafarer is very similar in that it has wonderful acting, excellent scenework, terrific monologues, good storytelling and yet—what?  What is this play for?  Why is it happening?  What’s it about?  I have no idea.  I guess the answer is I just don’t ‘get’ Conor McPherson.  I mean, I suppose I have a few vague ideas about this one, which is more than I could say for Shining City, but I find the ambiguity here more annoying than interesting or invigorating.  

David Morse (who I have loved for nearly 30 years, thanks to St. Elsewhere) is excellent as a down-on-his luck Irishman who has returned home to care for his blind brother (a quirky and wonderful performance here by Jim Norton [he ended up winning a Tony for this performance]).  It’s Christmas Eve and a few other colorful characters appear, along with someone from David Morse’s past.  I can’t say much more because it will be a big spoiler.  But I will say that the big spoiler didn’t really work for me in the first act, but I did feel some tension and excitement in the second act.  The card game was occasionally chilling and Ciaran Hinds was quite wonderful.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
Really, all of the actors are terrific and you absolutely feel you know these people.  The dialogue is also just grand.  A few times I found the Irish accents hard to understand, but I think it was more a staging issue than an actor issue.  I have no idea why the set is designed the way it is, unless (oh, and this just occurred to me!) it’s to juxtapose something that has to do with the big spoiler!  Ack!  OK, let's see if I can tap dance around it.  Ummm...the thing that just came to me as I was typing earlier is perhaps the basement is supposed to be another location, and the final degradation for that colorful spoiler-alert character is that he has to go be in that location to leave.  Oh crap.  Spoilers are the hardest.  But actually, that explanation doesn’t really work either, does it, since they were headed... No, it's too hard to describe without spoilers.  Sorry.  I will fill you in on the spoilers if you desire.  So I don’t know what to think now.  Moving on.  I guess I give this a thumbs-up because the acting is spot on, and any opportunity to see David Morse onstage is welcome, though I might try to use discounts rather than paying full price.  We were in the first row of the mezz and it was fine.  But, if you see it, let me know if I missed something!

For further reading:

Review of The Night Alive:  HERE

Review of revival of Shining CityHERE  

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