Professional actors. Professional productions.

The Cripple of Inishmaan

October 3, 2011 - 12:33 PM

An Irish orphan yearns to escape small-town life…by becoming a star.

(Left to right) Tim Budd as Johnnypateenmike, Kristy Harstgrove as Kate, and Osean Perez as Cripple Billy in The Cripple of Inishmaan. Photo by Bob Goodfellow.

Riverside Theatre, Iowa City’s resident professional theatre company will present The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, October 28 through November 13. Ron Clark, Riverside’s Resident Artist and Production Manager, directs. The Cripple of Inishmaan is a co-production with Cornell College.

In this wickedly hilarious Irish comedy, set in 1934 on the remote island of Inishmaan, Crippled Billy dreams of a world away from his adopted aunts, their tiny village store, and their nosy fellow villagers. When he hears that a Hollywood film crew is working nearby, Billy hatches a plot to land a part. What follows is a tale of adventure, loss and redemption.

Cripple explores the widely held stereotypes about the simple joys of small-town life, and fills the stage with the dark humor that is essential for its characters to survive,” Clark said.

In its thirty-one year history, Riverside Theatre has produced a number of Irish dramas including Stones in His Pockets and Dancing at Lughnasa.  Additionally, the company has produced two other McDonagh plays: The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West

“Audiences have raved about the work and thoroughly enjoyed the fine storytelling of these Irish plays.  The colorful and exuberant language and the carefully drawn characters are immensely appealing,” Clark said.

The playwright, Martin McDonagh, is generally revered as one of the great contemporary voices of the Irish theatre. McDonagh is the first playwright since Shakespeare to have four professionally produced plays running simultaneously on London stages.

The Cripple of Inishmaan is the ninth collaboration between Riverside Theatre and Cornell College since 1996.

The Cripple of Inishmaan is also a perfect fit for a co-production with Cornell College, where I have been an artist-in-residence for twenty-five years.  The roles break down very nicely to allow lots of great work for the student-actors while allowing Riverside to employ some of its best resident actors to play the more mature roles,” said Clark.

The Cripple of Inishmaan features Riverside Theatre favorites Tim Budd and Kristy Hartsgrove, who were last seen in All My Sons as Dr. Jim Bayliss and Sue Bayliss.

The role of Crippled Billy will be played by Osean Perez, a senior at Cornell. This is Perez’s first appearance at Riverside. Returning to Riverside will be Alec Hynes in the role of Babbybobby. Hynes is a junior at Cornell, who was last seen at Riverside as Eglamour in The Two Gentlemen of Verona at this summer’s Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival and has previously appeared on Gilbert Street in the last co-production as Peter Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank.

The Cripple of Inishmaan also features scenic design by Christopher Domanski, lighting design by John Wilson, costume design by Jenny Nutting Kelchen, and sound design by Clark.

All music in the production is courtesy of The Beggarmen, one of the region’s best Irish music ensembles. The Beggarmen will perform in concert at Riverside Theatre on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $20 with all proceeds benefiting Riverside.

The Cripple of Inishmaan contains adult language.

This production is supported in part by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council.

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