Riverside Theatre Group is to showcase its production of J. M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World at Ballina Arts Centre om February 22, 23 and 24.
A classic play that both celebrates and satirizes the Irish propensity for story-telling and myth-making, John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World lyrically combines comedy and tragedy in a timeless and entertaining theatrical experience. Its characters – including Christopher (Christy ) Mahon, Margaret Flaherty (Pegeen Mike ) and the Widow Quin – are among the most memorable in modern drama.
Set in a small village on the coast of Mayo, The Playboy opens when a young man on the run staggers into a local shebeen where he is given shelter. When the man, Christy Mahon, reveals that he has killed his father, he achieves instant celebrity among the local community and begins to attract the attentions of the local women. The publican’s daughter Pegeen, despite being engaged to the well-off but timid and priest-fearing Shawn Keogh, is captivated by Christy – and even the predatory Widow Quin sets her sights on him. But Christy also attracts the suspicion of the local self-appointed sleuth and in an ironic twist to the tale, his fortunes change dramatically.
The 1907 premier of this irreverent comic masterpiece in the Abbey Theatre was met with rioting and controversy – and sent shock waves around the dramatic world. Seeing the colourful language as blasphemous and the dynamic characters as caricatures, the audience took the play as an affront to the honour and dignity of the Irish and missed Synge’s subtle ironies, crafted interweaving of tone and plot, and beautiful re-workings of traditional imagery.
The cast includes both new and familiar faces. Peter Browne takes centre stage as Christy Mahon and Eilish O’Brien as Pegeen Mike. The group welcomes newcomers Stephen Barrett, a native of Belmullet, who took home the award for Best Actor at the 2018 Ballina One Act Drama Festival, who plays Old Mahon; and Gerard Bailey of Tubbercurry, who plays Philly Cullen.
The cast also includes Sue Tierney as the Widow Quinn, Eddie Kenny as Jimmy Farrelly, Bernard Guthrie as Shaun Keogh, Michael Duffy as M.J Flaherty and the Village girls are played by Sharon Mulvihill, Deirdre Horkan, Valerie Deane and Sinead Nunez.
Riverside Theatre Group formed in 2011 and this is their eighth production locally. Under the direction of Ray Collins, they have produced sell-out performances of ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’, ‘Big Maggie’ and ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ among others. Ray is a stalwart of drama locally and those who know him will know that his productions are not to be missed.
Curtain up at 8pm nightly. To secure your tickets contact the box office on 096-73593 or book online at www.ballinaartscentre.com