Sean Mahon: Rising with the Bar
Following the succession of stirring plays imported by The National Theatre of Great Britain comes Olivier Award-nominated The Seafarer by author Conor McPherson (The Weir, Shining City). It's Christmas Eve and five men find themselves at high-stakes and the mercy of myth, game-playing, brotherhood and the drink. Among these fateful fellows is Nicky, portrayed by New York-based Irish actor, Sean Mahon.
BroadwayWorld.com's own News Desk Editor, Eugene Lovendusky, had the pleasant opportunity to phone-chat with Sean while he took a brief break near the ice-skaters in Bryant Park between rehearsals and a Friday evening performance.
Sean discusses the privilege he feels in working opposite such polished and talented leading men, the honor of shaping McPherson's poignant script, and his passion for going wherever his work takes him
Eugene Lovendusky: Congratulations on your Broadway debut. How does it feel?
Sean Mahon: Humbling and exciting at the same time. We began previews last Tuesday, rehearsals started four-weeks ago. It's certainly full-on and full-throttle. You don't get a chance to sit back and relax because this is the point where we're tweaking things to see what works and what doesn't work; so the level of concentration is very focused. But who wouldn't be happy with this? It's a great opportunity and a really great piece of writing. I'm just really very fortunate. That's all I can say
Eugene: Tell me a little bit about the writing The Seafarer is being described as chilling with the arrival of a stranger and Heavy Drinking and the power of Irish myth so what kind of emotional or mental-ride does Conor McPherson's script bring the audience on?
Sean: It's very much an exploration of the human condition and how different people react and respond to their lives. And what they present to the world, in terms of who they are as characters and what is going on behind the mask, in terms of what demons their holding and how that interacts. It's very much a character-based play. Conor's writing is almost musical and paints pictures at the same time. It's a joy as an actor to be able to say the words. It's very conversational but at the same time, tells a story. It's a piece that is so interactive, and relies so much on these five men in the room, that I think will appeal to the life experiences every person has, in some small way. Every aspect of the play will in some way touch somebody or they'll know someone that has a likeness very representative of real life.
Eugene: What about your character, Nicky Giblin? How does he fit into it all?
Sean: I don't want to give too much away There are five characters in the play, and it revolves around two brothers, Richard and Sharky. Nicky is one of Richard's friends that comes to play cards on Christmas Eve with them. Nicky is I wouldn't say happy-go-lucky but he certainly has a positive outlook on life, and tries his hand on many many many jobs and does is not very successful. And I wouldn't say he's not loved or respected by a lot of people, but he's certainly not a deep thinker. He's very reactive and moves very very fast. He presents a persona to the world that's very flash and in-control of situations, but underneath it all, he has his own set of problems concerning gambling and alcohol.