It’s great to be back with Quotidian Theatre since my debut with them in 2013’s The Iceman Cometh. The first time, I was playing a young man seeking sanctuary from his sins in a seedy New York bar. This production finds my teenage character sharing deep personal stories with the audience inside his family’s Irish chipper.
My character Joe is an intuitive, but socially naïve 17 year-old clad in his school sweater and tie; a dress code I was very familiar with back in my own Catholic high school days. He starts off the show sharing his infatuation with the arrival of a new boy in his school: Damien. Damien is a classic bad boy who is free in all the ways Joe is not. Damien drinks, smokes, mouths off to adults and he gets all the girls. The two form an unlikely friendship, and the journey Joe takes with Damien becomes my character’s entry into the play’s larger discussion of morality and ethics.
Each of the men in the show deal with some sort of moral crisis, or are ambivalent to their own immorality. Whether it be risking life and limb for family, remaining faithful to the ones you love or daring to define your true purpose, they ultimately must answer the question: Should I…or shouldn’t I? You may not agree with everything these boys do, but Conor McPherson’s writing provides brutally honest portrayals of men at different stages in their lives, each with different codes of right and wrong.
My previous Irish production was The Lieutenant of Inishmore at Constellation Theatre; a show that relied on hilarious and bloody banter among an ensemble of wacky characters. With almost no verbal onstage interaction between us, This Lime Tree Bower asks the actors to rely solely on McPherson’s colorful and revealing monologues. When you put the monologues of the three characters together, it provides multiple story lines that creates a nice narrative tapestry for the audience to see weave itself together.
What I like about Quotidian, is that they go out of their way to dig up and produce theatrical gems that many audiences haven’t been exposed to before. While McPherson may have made his name with plays like The Weir and Shining City, The Lime Tree Bower offers an early look into his signature style.
I look forward to having people come inside The Writer’s Center and beat the summer heat.
There will be three lads sitting in their seaside chipper ready to tell you some amazing stories.