Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fightin' Irish

I went to see The Lieutentant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh at the Atlantic Theatre today. I tried to get on the waiting list for the matinee and was not lucky and came back for the waiting list at 7 pm and was able to get in. I'd rather see the play in the more intimate stage of the Atlantic. And boy am I glad I did because this play was horribly dark and funny and shocking and well written. The production was great, the actors superb. It was literally a bloody joy.
Mr. McDonagh has said he has been influenced by Quentin "Idiot Savant" Tarantino. I can see some of the parallels in his penchant for completely over the top violence and funny banter. But that's where the resemblance ends. For McDonagh is an extremely smart playwright, whose violence and banter are used with more profound intentions. There are actual humans with actual human feelings in his plays. And though he's dark, he sometimes punctuates the scathing irony with tenderness. He rules.
All I will tell you about the play is that is is a black comedy about Irish terrorists. Not, you would think, the stuff of comedy. Towards the end of the first act I was thinking the play was very funny but rather light and not what I expected, but from the second act onward, which is a tour de force of dramatic escalation, I sat with my mouth open at the sheer moxie of the guy. It is reckless and vibrant and horrid and intensely funny, and it jolts you, which is what theater is supposed to be for.
McDonagh is a master of conflating the horribly tragic with the absurdly comic, he has an amazing ear for language and writes very funny lines. I think I'm in love.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore ends its run at the Atlantic on April 9 and is moving to Broadway on April 18. If you don't want to get on the waiting list while its still at the Atlantic, which you should, go catch it on Broadway, see it at a bigger theater and pay more money. At the very least it will give you lots to talk about.

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