In Play Reviews

Tory Mitchell and Jeff Giberson in The Seafarer. Jon Farley photo.

‘Tis the day before Christmas in a coastal suburb of Dublin. Sharky (Jeff Giberson) passes the bleeding heart of Jesus on his way downstairs to tend to his aging brother Richard (Tory Mitchell), who is blind and hungover. Nearly blinded with the drink himself is Ivan (Sean D. Lujan), who slept on the living room floor the previous night. The place looks like a homeless camp.

Conor McPherson‘s highly acclaimed play The Seafarer is onstage now at Imago Theatre.

Sharky has returned to Dublin to care for Richard, who was blinded in a dumpster diving accident. Truth be told, Sharkey lost his chauffer job in a neighboring county–something to do with his boss’s wife–and is drying out over the holidays. Bad things happen when he drinks. On his best days, Richard is a smelly old tyrant who easily could drive someone to drink. The men go out to purchase food for the Christmas celebration, and then Nicky (Chris Brantley) shows up to help celebrate. It’s time for the Christmas card game.

Danny Bruno, Tory Mitchell, and Sean D. Lujan. Jon Farley photo.

Nicky is accompanied by the mysterious Mr. Lockhart (Danny Bruno) who, we learn, has a history with Sharky. Lockhart wants to settle a deal he made with Sharky 25 years ago.

While The Seafarer is a play about alcoholics (five, not counting the winos in the alley), it is not just another play about alcoholics. There is more at stake here than poker and pounding the whiskey. Lockhart proves to be a Mephistophelean guest and Sharky finds himself in a battle for his soul.

With its Irish blarney, black humor, and a bit of magical realism, The Seafarer offers quirky if ironic look at human nature, the Irish spirit, and redemption. It is a show for adults.

Tory Mitchell and Chris Brantley. Jon Farley photo.

Directed by Jerry Mouawad, The Seafarer‘s creative team also features light design by Jon Farley; scenic design, Alex Meyer; set dressing associate and prop master, Olivia Vavroch; sound design, Myrrh Larsen; costume design, Carol Triffle; stage manager, Olivia Vavroch; dialect coach, Kylie Jenifer Rose; dramaturg, Drew Pisarra; sound and light op, Olivia Vavroch.

The play runs through March 26 at Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Avenue, Portland. Tickets are available here.



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