Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saint Mary's to stage ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ Oct. 6-9

John Millington Synge’s classic Irish comedy/tragedy, “The Playboy of the Western World” — to be staged Oct. 6-9 — is sure to touch the hearts of lads and lasses alike.

For this production, students from the Department of Theatre and Dance are under the guest direction of Patrick Sutton, who has served as director of The Gaiety School of Acting-the National Theatre School of Ireland in Dublin for the past 18 years.

The Gaiety School of Acting boasts such well-known graduates as Olivia Wilde, Colin Farrell and Stuart Townsend.

Sutton, a renowned acting coach, director and writer, has also been garnering international attention for spearheading the renovation of the historic Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin’s first theatre (1662). He is also the director of COMMUNICATE, a communications company working in politics, industry and the arts. As such, for 11 years, Sutton worked on speeches for Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

“The Playboy of the Western World” was first performed in Dublin on Jan. 26, 1907. It begins with a young Christy Mahon who has just quarreled with his father and leaves him for dead. Mahon finds his way to the village pub where he is lauded as a hero for his deed. In a classic Irish twist, his father is not dead and comes looking for his cowardly son. The quarrel continues with extremely tragic — yet sometimes humorous — results.

“There’s something we can all identify with in this play: truth, lies, bravery and valor,” Sutton said before explaining how this play can be both tragic, yet comedic. “It’s a folk play that ends in misery but there’s also dancing, slapstick and Irish comedy along the way ... . We don’t play it for laughs, but we have great fun telling the tale.”

The show runs 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 6-8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.

Tickets for all shows are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and can be purchased at or at the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.