Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inishmore Journal

Hey kids.   We closed The Lieutenant of Inishmore this past Sunday.  For the past month, I've been borrowing a book of essays on Martin McDonagh from co-star John Lescault ...

... and I promised I'd return it soon.  So this is a hold-over post while I finish a longer one about the play and our production.

Doesn't Marty look bad-ass on the cover?  Here's a playwright who has the BALLS to depict Aran Islanders as the shoe-polish-eating bumblefucks they are.  You see, it takes great courage to mock rednecks onstage for theater audiences paying $70+ a ticket.  That'll show 'em.  Also, did you know that terrorists are assholes?  Well, McDonagh is brave enough to say it.  Terrorists are dumb-ass jerk-face dick-heads!  

I have no affection for backwater zealotry or the god that provokes it, but I'm still pretty sure McDonagh's first goal here was to make people laugh.  Nothing more.  That's my bold thesis on L of I anyway.  He uses blood as the base material for farce the way The Underpants uses lust.  If you care to dig any deeper, you're only going to be disappointed.

So why am I taking forever to compose my own line-by-line analysis?  Because there's something suspicious about the canonization of McDonagh and I confess it's interfered with my ability to approach this play as either jolly farce or serious character study.  It's neither.  Contrary to every synopsis written about the play, the title character Padraic is not a psychopath.  And contrary to Catherine Rees, this play does not force the audience to "confront their own approaches to the sentimentality of the Irish political movement and to interrogate the causes of Padraic's dislocation and isolation in a world which no longer remembers the history it is fighting for."  

I have a feeling some critics and thinkers are working overtime to justify their own violent laughter.  And that's what I'm trying to unpack at the moment.  In the meantime, here's our chart for the number of walk-outs per week:

That doesn't include the last two weeks.  Two Fridays ago, we had a record-high one-night walkout tally of 17 -- of which 10 left during my nipple-slicing moment in the second scene.  I guess they were just closeted terrorists who couldn't bear to see their own dark urges exposed onstage, right?  Well, that's the prevailing logic for Rees and a whole slew of critics who think McDonagh's doing something radical with this play.  Here are some of the reactions we could hear from the stage:

I don't know if you can read that last one, but it says "Well, if you put the Irish together, that's what you get."  And here's a picture of "a complex metaphor for violent sectarianism" ...

Now, I know you can't spell "Catholic" or "fanatic" without "c-a-t."  But does that really count as post-Syngian intertextuality?  

More soon ...

4 comments:

jessica darling. said...

Where did you do Inishmore? Are you still in the city?

If so, then it was a shame I didn't see this, as this has been on my shortlist of Plays to See...


By the way, I like the picture of the cat. I hope s/he wasn't hurt in the process...

Hannah Blechman said...

...you got blood on someones skirt? Shame on them for wearing white to the theatre!

I'm surprised that so many people walked out in one show.... I thought the one who left when I saw it was hilarious... but 17? wow.

Rocco said...

white linen? but isn't it after labor day?

Anonymous said...

The Aran Islanders are also serious craftsman who do incredible hand weaving of sweaters that were used in the past to identify the bodies lost at sea that washed up on the shores...see Synge's RIDERS TO THE SEA..."...there's nothing more the sea can do to me..."

not all bumblefucks by a long shot.

--Trillum