Raven Theatre Presents Irish Drama THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, Now Through 4/5
This year, one of the many ways Chicagoans can observe St. Patrick's Day beyond dropping in to an Irish pub might be a visit to Raven Theatre in Edgewater to see the theatre's acclaimed production of The Playboy of the Western World. J. M. Synge's pioneering classic of modern Irish drama is a non-alcoholic trip to the Emerald Isle, though the play is, incidentally, set in an Irish country pub (they call it a shebeen).
Raven's production has been critically hailed not only for its performances and lush production design (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by the Chicago Sun-Times) but also for the authenticity of its Irish accents, sets, costumes and props. Writing for Chicago's Irish-American News, Frank West said "The set is so detailed with accurate pieces of the period that it looks like it was brought from an historical folk park in Ireland," and added that the Irish accents were spoken so accurately, "I thought I was in Ireland, my family comes from the area where the play is set."
The romantic and darkly comic play is set in County Mayo, a rural area of western Ireland that was later the locale for many plays of the contemporary Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, whose black comedies like The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Lonesome Westand The Beauty Queen of Leenane were influenced by Synge. In The Playboy of the Western World, a handsome young stranger swaggers into a small pub in rural Ireland, telling grand tales and boasting of dark deeds. The men admire him and the women adore him! But he soon meets his match with a feisty, beautiful barmaid.
For their production of this landmark of modern drama, Raven has created a windswept rural Irish pub created by Jeff Award-nominated set designer Andrei Onegin, authentic early 20th Century Irish garb in costumes by Alaina Moore and everyday country utensils via props and set dressing designed by Mary O'Dowd. An original musical score evoking the sound of Irish folk music has been composed by Leif Olsen.
The production, running through April 5th, is performed Thursdays through Saturdays at7:30 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. St. Patrick's Weekend performances are Thursday, March 13 through Sunday, March 16. With a running time of two hours and five minutes, The Playboy of the Western World will allow ample time after performances (or all dayMonday), to visit local Irish pubs for a spirited celebration involving actual Irish alcoholic spirits.
Tickets and information are available at www.raventheatre.com or 773-338-2177.
Photo Credit: Keith Claunch