The Seafarer, McPherson's Soul-Searching New Play, Opens on Broadway

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06 Dec 2007

Jim Norton, Sean Mahon and Conleth Hill in <i>The Seafarer</i>.
Jim Norton, Sean Mahon and Conleth Hill in The Seafarer.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Irish playwright Conor McPherson, who tingled the spines of New York and London theatregoers with The Weir and Shining City, returns to Broadway Dec. 6 with the opening of a fresh supernatural-steeped play, The Seafarer.

The National Theatre of Great Britain's production began previews at the Booth Theatre on Broadway Oct. 30; its original opening night was to be Nov. 15, but the recent strike by stagehands prompted a change.

Tony Award nominee McPherson directs his play, previously seen at the National's Cottesloe. The Broadway company features Ciarán Hinds, Conleth Hill, Sean Mahon, David Morse and Jim Norton. Hill and Norton both appeared in the U.K. production.

Billed as a "chilling new play about the sea, Ireland, and the power of myth," the play is described this way: "It's Christmas Eve and Sharky (Morse) has returned to Dublin to look after his irascible, aging brother (Norton) who's recently gone blind. Old drinking buddies Ivan (Hill) and Nicky (Mahon) are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. But with the arrival of a stranger (Hinds) from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher. In fact, Sharky may be playing for his very soul."

McPherson, who was nominated for a 2006 Best Play Tony for Shining City, told Playbill Magazine he thinks this is his most optimistic play yet. "I see it as a very warm play," he explained. "It's supposed to be like a thrilling roller-coaster ride. I wanted the suspense to be palpable and enjoyable. But we need yin and yang, both the highs and the lows. I've written other plays where I just trawl right through the lows. So this one sort of is trying to redress the imbalance. We need to go into the depths to pull it into the hopefulness, which I think the play is ultimately suffused in."



The Seafarer made its world premiere in 2006, earning an Olivier nomination for Best New Play and an Olivier Award for Jim Norton for Best Performance in a Supporting Role.

The design team comprises Rae Smith (set and costume design), Neil Austin (lighting design) and Mathew Smethurst-Evans (sound design).

Boyett Ostar Productions is producing the Broadway production. The Seafarer is the latest National Theatre production to be produced on Broadway by Boyett Ostar. Previous productions include Alan Bennett's Tony Award-winning The History Boys directed by NT director, Nicholas Hytner, as well as the recent productions of Coram Boy, Jumpers, Democracy and The Pillowman.

The Booth Theatre is located at 222 West 45th Street. Tickets are $76.50-$96.50 and are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.

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For information, visit www.SeafarerThePlay.com.