Conor Breslin as Cripple Billy and Conor Friery as Johnnypateenmike in Donegal Drama Circle's production of 'The Cripple of Inishmann' at Inver Community Centre. Photo Thomas Gallagher INDD131016 Cri
The staging of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" at Inver Community Centre by Donegal Drama Circle on October 6, 7 and 8, was a remarkable presentation of a chilling play. The production was in association with the ever-evolving Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival and well worth its place on any programme.
Written by Martin McDonagh, the drama is described as a "hilarious comedy" but, while there was plenty of wit and many laughs, it was difficult at times to keep from crying.
McDonagh's script deals with such unfunny themes as disability, suicide, clerical sex abuse, alcoholism, mental disorder, elder abuse, loneliness, homosexuality and rejection. And these topics are not glossed over or hinted at. It's very much an "in your face" approach by McDonagh.
For example, the following softly-spoken exchange:
Cripple Billy: "You shouldn't laugh at people's misfortunes, Bartley."
Cripple Billy (after a thoughtful pause): "I don't know."
But, in spite of the bleakness of the back-stories and the cruelty of the confrontations, "The Cripple of Inishmaan" is a remarkable piece of drama, well worth seeing and masterfully presented by the tight-knit cast of Suzanne Thomas, Siobhra Pringle, Conor Friery, Conor Breslin, Barry Breslin, Kate Gurren, Ultan Pringle, Amanda Crawford and Seamus McHugh.
A vital element in the success of the play were the wonderful acoustics in Inver Community Centre. Many of the exchanges had to be delivered sotto voce but not a word was lost. In this regard, the breathless attention of the audience was also critical - such close attention in itself a tribute to the quality of the acting.
Director was Christian Carbin. Costumes were by "Amanda's Attic Costumes", Rebecca Foster. Sound design was by Donal Friery, lighting by Art Kavanagh and the backstage crew were Rebecca Foster, Nicola McDaid and Laura O'Donnell.
* See more on Thursday in the Donegal Democrat . . .