Irish Repertory Theatre’s Seafarer Revival Lands Home
By Mary Gallagher, Editorial Assistant
June / July 2018
Dublin-born playwright Conor McPherson’s 2006 play The Seafarer opened in an off-Broadway revival at the Irish Repertory Theatre in April, directed by County Cavan native Ciarán O’Reilly. Starring Matthew Broderick alongside Andy Murray, who plays lead character John “Sharky” Harkin, the Dublin-set play explores the earthy issues of middle age, infirmity, and alcoholism intertwined amid more ethereal questions of guilt and eternal damnation, battered about across the central action of a Christmas Eve poker game.
Broderick is familiar with both the playwright and the theatre, having starred in its 2016 run of McPherson’s Shining City. The actor, who is of Irish descent on his father’s side, tackles an Irish accent for his portrayal of Mr. Lockhart, the human cast occupied by Satan who forces Sharky into a secret, personal wager for his life and soul. Yet the Faustian aspect of the central conflict occupies only a portion of the matter of the play, occupied by a critical ensemble of the other poker players who all keep the dramatic tension at work, including Sharky’s blind, viciously depressed brother, Richard, Sharky’s ex-wife’s new flame, Nicky Giblin, and their old friend Ivan Curry – portrayed respectively by Irish actors Colin McPhillamy, Tim Ruddy, and Michael Mellamphy.
The revival opened to critical acclaim as well as the interest of many, including Manchester by the Sea writer and director Kenneth Lonergan and actors Julian Sands, Timothy Busfield, and Melissa Gilbert in attendance.
Performances run until May 24, and tickets can be purchased online at irishrep.org. ♦