In the New York premiere of Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a darkly comic satire of terrorism, Padraic (pronounced "Porick") turns out to have a tender heart underneath his voracious appetite for defending Irish purity: He is destroyed when it turns out his kitty cat, Wee Thomas, has been murdered.
Audiences at preview performances at the Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company have been horrified by the torture, gunplay and gore in this U.S. premiere of the Olivier Award-winning play.
But they've also howled with laughter to witness the deadened characters' view that human losses are excusable, but pussycats are precious. (The final 10 minutes of the play provide what many will likely consider the most satisfying comic payoffs on a New York stage this season.)
Opening night is Feb. 27, at ATC's home in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
* A hybrid U.S. and U.K. cast introduces American audiences to McDonagh's work, which began previews Feb. 8. Performances continue to April 9.
The production, directed by Wilson Milam, features Jeff Binder (The Lion King and Side Man on Broadway) as James, Kerry Condon (Lieutenant of Inishmore at RSC at Stratford and the Barbican Pit in London; HBO's "Rome") as Mairead, Andrew Connolly (CBS's "Celtic Riddle," HBO's "Vendetta") as Christy, Dashiell Eaves (James Joyce's The Dead and The Sound of Music on Broadway) as Joey, Peter Gerety (HBO's "The Wire," Henry V at the Public Theater's Delacorte, Never Gonna Dance on Broadway) as Donny, Domhnall Gleeson (Lieutenant of Inishmore at Garrick Theatre, London's West End) as Davey, Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James (Sweet Smell of Success and Titanic on Broadway) as Brendan and David Wilmot (Lieutenant of Inishmore at RSC at Stratford and the Barbican Pit in London) as the title officer, Padraic.
Kerry Condon, Domhnall Gleeson and David Wilmot are appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and U.K. Equity.
According to the Atlantic, "Martin McDonagh's scorchingly black comedy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore is set in 1993 in County Galway on the rocky island of Inishmore, off the coast of Ireland. Padraic is a terrorist with no feeling for those he blows up, but has an obsessive attachment to Thomas, his beloved cat. But someone has killed poor wee Thomas. Was it an accident or an execution? Either way, the death must be concealed before 'Mad Padraic' returns from a stint of torture and bombing. Otherwise the recriminations will be horrifying."
The production is presented in association with commercial producers Randall L. Wreghitt and Dede Harris. Wreghitt took McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane to Broadway in 1998 following its ATC bow Off-Broadway. The production snagged four 1999 Tony Awards.
Atlantic continues its relationship with McDonagh, after presenting his critically-acclaimed Beauty Queen of Leenane, which received four Tony Awards, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play in 1998.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore was first performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, April 11-Oct. 12, 2001. This production transferred to the Barbican Pit in London from Dec. 20, 2001–Feb. 23, 2002, and moved to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End from June 21–Nov. 2, 2002.
The play is part of McDonagh's trilogy of Aran Island plays, which also include The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Banshees of Inisheer.
The play won the 2003 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and was nominated for the 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play.
The design team includes scenic designer Scott Pask (The Pillowman, Sweet Charity), costume designer Theresa Squire (Orson's Shadow, Atlantic's Bald Soprano and The Lesson), lighting designer Michael Chybowski (Wit, A Skull in Connemara), sound designer Obadiah Eaves (Atlantic's Celebration and The Room). Fight direction is by J. David Brimmer.
McDonagh received the Olivier Award for The Lieutenant of Inishmore. His play, The Pillowman, won the Olivier Award for Best Play and an Evening Standard Award nomination for the National Theatre production, while the Broadway production won a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play (Foreign) and Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony nominations for Best Play. His first play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, received a Best Play Tony nomination in 1998 and was the first in his Leenane Trilogy, which also includes A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West, for which he received his second Tony nomination for Best Play. The Cripple of Inishmaan, the first of his trilogy of Aran Island plays, opened at Britain's National Theatre and transferred to the Public Theater. Other works include Suicide on Sixth Street, The Retard Is Out in the Cold, Hangmen, Dead Day at Coney and Seven Psychopaths.
An American director, Milam directed the RSC Stratford, Barbican Pit and Garrick Theatre productions of The Lieutenant of Inishmore. He also directed Patrick Marber's Closer in San Francisco and The Wexford Trilogy at the Tricycle. His production of David Rabe's Hurlyburly for the Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic and Queen's theatres, London, was nominated for two Olivier Awards including one for Best Play. In New York, Milam directed Killer Joe at the Soho Playhouse in 1998, and the staged reading of The Glory of Living for New Plays at the Public Theater. He is a founding member and artistic director of The Hired Gun Theatre Company.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore plays Tuesday through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM. All tickets are $60 and are available by calling Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visiting Telecharge.com.
Atlantic Theater Company is located at 336 West 20th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues).
For membership information, wheelchair seating, and/or group sales call (212) 691-5919, ext. 102.
For more information, visit www.atlantictheater.org.