In 1994, 24-year-old playwright Martin McDonagh wrote seven plays in just nine months. Six of the plays have been performed on stage in London and New York. This weekend, North Hennepin Community College Fine Arts Theatre in Brooklyn Park is presenting one of his works: "The Cripple of Inishmaan."
"The play depicts a lot of characters who are undergoing change in their life," said director Mike Ricci. "On the surface they seem static, but there is a lot of movement underneath."
"The Cripple of Inishmaan" is set in 1934 on the small island community of Inishmaan, which lies in the Aran chain off the western coast of Ireland. Ricci was inspired to bring the production to North Hennepin Community College when he saw the play performed in New York.
"The main character is called 'Cripple Billy.' He is an orphan child who is being raised by two women who he is not related to at all. He calls them his aunties," said Ricci.
Mitch McIntyre who plays Cripple Billy said, "He's an introvert, he likes to think a lot, he takes it in doesn't really give things out a ton, but when he says things it’s always meaningful."
The characters and the social setting of the play are complex and foreign, right down to the strong Irish accents. Director Ricci brought in a dialect coach to assist the actors.
"I'd never had any experience doing a dialect for a role before, so I didn't know to expect," said McIntyre.
The story follows Cripple Billy and the other characters as they attempt to land a role in a documentary film by going to auditions on a nearby island. No one thinks Cripple Billy has a chance, but he turns out to be the chosen one.
McIntyre said, "He thinks he’s going to get chosen, but at the same time it's still a long shot."
The play is described as a dark comedy. Ricci says the audience will laugh and smile at a lot of things, but underneath you’re wondering, "Why am I laughing at this, because it’s sad."
Be ready to explore some very complex social dynamics.
"Irish people are complicated. You try to paint them with a broad brush stroke but that doesn't do it," said Ricci.
"The Cripple of Inishmaan" is on stage this weekend, Friday and Saturday at North Hennepin's Fine Arts Theatre. The shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and children.
Learn about our mobile app - http://bit.ly/CH12app
Channel 12 is on Comcast cable in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.