The Arts

The Cripple of Inishmaan

The Cripple of Inishmaan featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Druid Theatre (Galway, Ireland)
Spoleto Festival USA
Written by Martin McDonagh
Directed by Garry Hynes
Dock Street Theatre
Charleston SC
May 26 to Jun. 12, 2011

This year, Spoleto Festival USA is presenting Druid Theatre from Galway, Ireland performing Martin McDonagh’s 1997 classic play, The Cripple of Inishmaan, lovingly directed by Druid founder Garry Hynes.

The play is set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland in 1934. McDonagh has deliciously incorporated a real life event into the play – the filming of the notorious documentary Man of Aran by American director Robert Flaherty. Billy Claven, the cripple of the title, goes to Flaherty’s film shoot in the hope of landing a part.

McDonagh writes epics about characters, and Hynes is a master of pause and pacing. The islanders are portrayed as true eccentrics, and McDonagh’s language is direct, cruel, and sarcastic. The play is very funny, but it is uncompromising noir humour.

There is a certain authenticity about an Irish play mouthed by Irish actors. They innately understand the lilting musicality of McDonagh’s text.

Spoleto Festival USA continues in Charleston SC until Jun. 12.

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