Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 25, 2008

The Seafarer

Theatreworks, Hartford
through December 21, 2008
Reviewed by: Meghan Lynn Allen

It wouldn’t be Christmas if you weren’t a little depressed, but Theatreworks’production of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer pushes the envelope with a menu of drunken Irishmen, repulsive relatives, fist fights, disgusting bodily functions, arguments, loneliness, gambling, and regret …and that’s all before Satan knocks on the door!

There are fun, light moments born out of the depression of this Dublin dwelling. Ivan (John Ahlin) is a clown of a grown man who is too drunk and foolish to find his car and glasses after an all-nighter, but is relentless in his crusade to track down one more swig of whiskey. Richard (Edmond Genest) authentically masters the art of all things revolting from self stench to toilet trouble to a boil on his, well…it has to be seen to be believed.

But at its core, the piece explores the dark tones of the human experience. Sharky (Dean Nolen) made a deal with a devil of sorts over 20 years ago that comes back to haunt him on Christmas Eve. When Sharky is forced to confront his troubled past, Nolen delivers a contained and agonizing collapse that is heartrendingly inspired. Sharky’s brother Richard (Genest) portrays a real codger of an old man who is steeped in human failure. The brothers’ dilapidated home oozes with the hopelessness that emerges from every new day being just a little bit worse and yet just barely different than the last. McPherson carves out a world of existential angst fueled by massive quantities of alcohol. Fortunately, he also provides us a flicker of hope before the curtain comes down.

Chris Genebach (Nicky) and Allen McCullough (Mr. Lockhart) round out this talented cast. Director Henry Wishcamper brings all 5 men to sad life. Take advantage of this dysfunctional Christmas gift before it’s gone on December 21st!