News Ticker

Paul O’Brien

The Importance of Being Earnest

May 23, 2021

Of course, there’s Wilde’s brilliance with his ingenious epigrams, the barbed skewering of the British class system and the precise plot. Most importantly, this glorious document preserves Brian Bedford magnificence. [more]

Molly Sweeney

October 24, 2019

As is Mr. Friel’s The Faith Healer, Molly Sweeney is a monologue play. Here, instead of being separated in individual acts, the three characters appear on stage together without interacting, and speak alternately. It’s certainly a viable format and Mr. Friel gives us a gorgeous cascade of memories, biographical details, differing points of view and suspense. However, as beautiful as these reveries may be, there’s too much of them and the play’s impact is diluted. Lasting two and a half hours and comprised of two acts with an intermission, the slender plot is embellished with the leisure of a literary work rather than a taut stage play.  Still, by its end, one is caught up by the characters and their fates. The arguable structural deficiencies are compensated for by the faultless presentation. [more]

The Mountains Look Different

June 23, 2019

A mash-up of Eugene O’Neill’s "Anna Christie" (set in Manhattan and off the coasts of Provincetown and Boston) and "Desire under the Elms "(with a rural New England setting), the play is set on a farm in the West of Ireland. With its fallen woman theme, this play could have been written any time since 1880. First time director Aidan Redmond has staged the play by the numbers and has given his actors little help. Some of the character interpretations undercut the play. However, the play does have a melodramatic but smashing and startling ending. [more]

Man in Snow

November 24, 2016

"Man in Snow" begins and ends in tragedy. In between there is an insightful, sometimes banal, study of a middle-aged man, David (an awesomely complex Will Lyman), his bumpy relationship with his wise wife, Franny (Sandra Shipley, whose even-handed façade hides deep emotions), his daughter Emily (lovely, bright Ashley Risteen) who harbors grudges that pore out at the most unfortunate times and his beloved son Joey whose death in a car accident opens the play. [more]

The Burial at Thebes

February 1, 2016

Robert Langdon Lloyd’s eloquent performance as the blind prophet Tiresias energizes what had been a stilted presentation of this small-scale production of "The Burial at Thebes." Before Mr. Lloyd’s commanding midway appearance there had been a good deal of static expositional recitation and declaiming with only slight dramatic sparks. [more]

The Weir

July 13, 2015

Mr. McPherson has written a rich and engrossing play that is appealing in it’s well-crafted simplicity. Each of the five commonplace characters is precisely drawn with biographical details expertly imparted throughout. They all speak in an authentic flavorful Irish manner. The narrative conceit of people reminiscing about past interactions with apparitions is rendered with a matter-of-fact quality and total believability. The beauty of the play is in its depiction of the inner lives and honest exclamations of these small town folk that only gets expressed through their fanciful storytelling. [more]

ON THE TOWN with Chip Deffaa, March 31st, 2015

April 1, 2015

Of course, not everybody in the arts who has potential will stick with it. There’s a high rate of attrition in the arts. The stresses and strains of pursuing a career will be too much for many people. One must have not just talent, but energy and drive and determination, plus a certain stubborn kind of stick-to-it quality that is simply all-too-rare. And you also have to be a risk-taker, with an instinct for knowing when to move out of your comfort zone and take the chance on something that excites you, even it may appear risky. [more]

Da

January 23, 2015

This finely constructed memory piece is characterized by comedy and melancholy. Overcoming parental dysfunction is it’s universal theme. It’s rendered with complexity, as the characters are often shown at their most vindictive but also with their good qualities that they often repress. The dialogue is crisp and filled with mordant Irish wit. [more]