Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Seafarer - Seattle Repertory Theatre

The Seafarer
Seattle Repertory Theatre
February 26 – March 28, 2009
Tickets and Information

Conor McPherson’s adaptation of the 1000’s AD Old English poem, The Seafarer, is an absolutely stunning achievement. Drawing from his own life in large part, McPherson takes the audience on a ride through the Irish life of the financially and domestically downtrodden, alcoholic siblings and the inevitable encounter with the “other world.”

Wilson Milam’s direction of The Seafarer is absolutely spot-on. There is the slightest moment at the onset of the production when the audience has a small culture-shock as they travel from Seattle, Washington to Baldoyl, Ireland in the space of a blackout. After that brief moment, onboard and following along for the ride with the five men on stage. Milam’s work on this production is really an absolute gem.
Sean G. Griffin and Russell Hodgkinson. Photo by Chris Benion

On stage, the five men making up the entire cast create the world of the play so fully and completely that it is honestly a heartbreaking moment when the final black hits and one realizes the show is done. Suddenly, the world we’ve all experienced for the last two and a half hours is drawn away and we back to our own worries and vices. Hans Altwies (James ‘Sharkey’ Harkin), Frank Corrado (Mr. Lockhart), Seán G. Griffin (Richard Harkin), Russell Hodgkison (Ivan Curry) and Shawn Telford (Nicky Giblin) make up the world of Baldoyl in which the story lives. These five men absolutely absorb the audience and tell the story of the Harkin brothers and their acquaintances and friends with such honesty that The Seafarer is a must-see show, if not a must-see-twice-show!

As would be expected, the production is encased in a magnificent set designed by Eugene Lee (Wicked, Saturday Night Live since 1974). The practicality and realism lends itself beautifully to the production as a whole and never once gets in the way of the action. Similarly, the lighting by Geoff Korf (The Clean House world premier) lends a magical sense of naturalism as the seeming sunlight streams in through the windows as the sun rises and the laps on stage really do provide a solid chunk of the light on stage at times.

The Seafarer is playing at Seattle Repertory Theatre from now until March 28. There is plenty of time to make it there and ample reason to do so. Though only two and a half months in, this is the highlight of 2009!

Review by Nigel Andrews

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. This is an amazing play that I must see a second time and have recommended to everyone I know. Beautifully layered metaphors on shame, self-destruction, hell, and redemption, along with lots of comic relief. This play gives you so much to think about. It can be enjoyed on so may levels - artistically, spiritually, intellectually.