THE TALENT OF THE IRISH: Don't look now, but Martin McDonagh is sowing the seeds of not one trilogy but two Off-Broadway. The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which bowed to raves at the Atlantic and is now on its way uptown to the Walter Kerr, has two more installments that have already played England, Ireland and Australia and the same goes for this month's McDonagh, The Cripple of Inishmaan, surfacing at The Public. Half a dozen in all plus a trunkful of others and McDonagh is only 28. . . . Another gifted Irish playwright making good (albeit, posthumously like the unprecedented fourth Pulitzer Prize he received for Long Day's Journey Into Night) is Eugene O'Neill. Within spitting distance of St. Patrick's Day, two major O'Neills received New York revivals Ah, Wilderness! at Lincoln Center the day after, and the aforementioned Journey at the Irish Rep four days after that. In Journey, Brian Murray and Frances Sternhagen play parents of a pair of Pauls Paul Carlin as Jamie and Paul McGrane as Edmund. (No sweat for Carlin; he just happens to be Sternhagen's son.) . . . Then there's the Wooster Group's revival of The Emperor Jones playing on both sides of St. Paddy's Day, with Willem Dafoe in the second lead and his wife (Elizabeth LeCompte) in the director's seat. Both displayed their affinity for O'Neill last season via The Hairy Ape. . . . Nov. 20, 1920, is the date that The Emperor Jones lunged into public view at Greenwich Village's Provincetown Playhouse where so many of O'Neill's plays debuted and that's the date depicted in Young Eugene, a new opus by NYU professor Lowell Swortzell; fittingly indeed, this is the play that will open the doors of the 80-year-old, newly renovated Provincetown Playhouse. . . . Scottish playwright James M. Barrie is the subject of a new play that just got a production from the 42nd Street WorkShop. The Man Who Was Peter Pan, by Allan Knee, focuses on Barrie's relationship with Davies family, the source of inspiration for his Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.
IT'S MAY IN APRIL The three-ply Power Plays, premiering at the Promenade at the end of the month, is one-part Alan Arkin (Virtual Reality), two-parts Elaine May (The Way of All Fish and In and Out of the Light or Dr. Kessleman's End). Mr. Arkin will direct, and the duo will act in this trio of plays, along with their respective offspring: Anthony Arkin and Jeanne Berlin. (It may be remembered that May directed Berlin to an Oscar nomination for The Heartbreak Kid.)
-- By Harry Haun