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INCORRUPTIBLE logoThe Cripple of Inishmaan
By Martin McDonagh
March 26 - April 17, 2004
Directed by Rhonda Clark
 

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but gossip – true or fabricated – is the chief form of entertainment on the island of Inishmaan.

For Johnnypateenmike, it’s also a living, as he literally barters "news" for his food. The day he arrives with the news of a Hollywood director who’s come to film a documentary, the bored residents go into a tailspin.

The one person who yearns to be in the film more than anyone is the disabled boy Billy, the title character in Martin McDonagh's THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, which is set in 1934 on one of the remote Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.

Written by one of the world's most celebrated young playwrights, this ingeniously funny and sometimes touching story is a fiction, but takes its inspiration from fact. In the early 1930s, Hollywood film director Robert Flaherty and his crew spent over two years on the Aran Islands making his documentary "The Man of Aran" in the same man-versus-nature format as his earlier success, "Nanook of the North." The film took the Best Foreign Film prize at the Venice Film Festival, among other accolades. An extended sequence in the film follows the hunting of a shark. In the past, sharks were harpooned for their liver, which yielded lamp oil. This portion of the film is woven into McDonagh's play.

Playwright Martin McDonagh became a sensation in the late 1990s as the only playwright, outside of William Shakespeare, to have four plays running concurrently in London. The London and New York productions of his play THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE garnered every major theatre award. Likewise, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN received several award nominations for its Off-Broadway production.

  

McDonagh uses the factual filming to stir up the dreams and frustrations of his fictional characters. Billy, the island’s resident reader and thinker, is a disabled teenager who was orphaned as a baby and raised by two doting spinsters who smother him with concern. His days pass with doctor visits, staring at cows and reading books that no one else cares about. Billy sees the exotic visitors as his chance for an escape from his humdrum life. Using a forged letter from the island's doctor, he cons Babbybobby into rowing him, along with two friends, to a nearby island to audition. While he doesn't land a role in that film, he confounds everyone by getting tapped for a screen test in Hollywood. The story of Billy's departure and anticipated return becomes a framework for the playwright to explore the secrets and lies of the eccentric villagers, and the plot plays out with twists and turns until the final moments.

  

The Aran Islands, where most of the action takes place, mark the westernmost point of the European continent. The three main islands are Inishmore ("big island" - 9 miles long, where the young characters go to the filming), Inishmaan ("middle island" - 3.5 miles in diameter) and Inisheer ("eastern island" - 3 miles in diameter). Life on Inishmaan is still fairly rugged, and the island is the most isolated of the three. The population was approximately 375 in the 1930's and has reduced steadily to approximately 250 today. They are often at the mercy of gale-force winds and the treacherous Atlantic seas that stifle both air travel and boat travel there. The landscape is treeless, and since the land itself is limestone, soil is created from a mixture of seaweed, beach sand, and a little soil scooped from between rock crevices. Electricity arrived in the late 1970's, and the bank still flies in once a month from the mainland.

Gaelic is the native language on Inishmaan, and many residents do not speak English -- or do not want to speak English! Parents throughout Ireland often send their teenagers to Inishmaan in the summers for lessons in Gaelic and Irish traditions. Their Aran sweaters are world renowned, with special designs for different surnames. This custom arose from the need to identify the bodies of drowned fishermen and sailors. If they could not be identified otherwise, they would be known from the design knitted into their sweaters.

Despite the seeming bleakness of the islands, they have inspired some of the 20th century's finest artists, such as W.B. Yeats and J. M. Synge.

  

Carpenter Square Theatre gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts for this production.  

 

 THE CAST    


Kate   Sue Ellen Reiman
Eileen   Sheryl Martin
Johnnypateenmike   Steve Vann
Billy   John Brumley
Bartley   Daniel Gilbert
Slippy Helen   Jenn Turner
Babbybobby   Kristofer Stover
Doctor McSharry   Clyde Martin
Mammy   Suzanne Charney
     

THE CREW

   
Director   Rhonda Clark
Set Design   Corey Martin
Lighting Design   Steven Gillmore
Costume Design   Corey Martin
Sound Design   Rhonda Clark
Stage Manager   Bob Bates
Light Board Operator   Bob Cross
Sound Operator   Hillary LaReau
Lights Assistant / Running Crew   Jordan Weeks
Set Construction   Corey Martin
Tom Gibson
Scenic Painting   Corey Martin
Rhonda Clark
Stitcher   Catherine Pongratz
Poster Design   Phil Carlton
Don Lusk
Photos   Phil Carlton
CST Webmasters   Don Lusk
Phil Carlton
  .  

 SPECIAL THANKS TO

Ms. Fayelene O'Connell for her information on Irish dialect and culture, as well as Larry and Leah Westmoreland for their slide photos of the Aran Islands.

Fred Jones Enterprises - UCO Theatre Department - Doug Getzoff - Marilyn & Terry Veal

Cast Sponsors: Larry & Leah Westmoreland / Jon Womastek
Opening Night Party Sponsor: Eddie Weeden
 

 
   

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