The Lieutenant of Inishmore

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The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Lieutenant of inishmore mcdonagh book cover methuen.jpg
Methuen cover
Written by Martin McDonagh
Date premiered 2001
Place premiered Other Place Theatre
Stratford-upon-Avon
Original language English
Genre Comedy
Setting 1993 on the island of Inishmore, County Galway
IBDB profile
IOBDB profile

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a black comedy by playwright Martin McDonagh,[1] first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in 2001.

Plot[edit]

It's the early 1990s, the Northern ­Ireland peace process is taking its faltering first steps, and INLA man Mad Padraic is hard at work pulling out the toenails of ­Belfast drug pusher James, when the news comes through that his beloved cat, Wee Thomas, is poorly. So instead of slicing off James's right nipple, as planned, he heads back home to the island of Inishmore. But when he ­arrives at the family home, he discovers that Wee Thomas isn't sick, but has had his brains squeezed out like toothpaste. Padraic, a man considered too mad for the IRA and sorely trying the ­patience of his INLA comrades, is intent on ­revenge, even if that means wiping out his own father. Just as he's about to put a ­bullet through Dad's head, there's an ­unexpected knock at the door. The plot is set in 1993 on the island of Inishmore, County Galway, Ireland.[2]

Scene 1[edit]

Donny's House. Davey, a pudgy, long-haired teenager, has brought his middle-aged neighbor Donny the corpse of Donny's cat, Wee Thomas, which he has found lying in the road. The cat has been badly mangled; its brains fall out as they examine it. Donny accuses Davey of running it over with his mother's bicycle, which Davey vehemently denies. Donny reveals, to Davey's horror, that Wee Thomas did not belong to him but to his son, Padraic. The cat had been his only friend for fifteen years. Davey pleads with Donny to not involve him, as Padraic, a Lieutenant in the INLA, has an insanely violent temper. (He was thrown out of the IRA for "being too mad.") Donny agrees to keep it secret, but only if Davey admits he killed the cat. Davey half-heartedly confesses to, although only due to Donny's insistence. Donny then plans to call Padraic, who is working in Northern Ireland blowing up chip shops, to tell him that Wee Thomas is sick. Davey does not understand the purpose of the call, so Donny explains that he is letting his son down easy, planning to tell him later that the cat died. Davey agrees and leaves as Donny begins to phone Padraic.

Scene 2[edit]

A warehouse in Northern Ireland, where Padraic has James, a drug dealer, hung upside down from the ceiling. Padraic has removed two of James' toenails. James insults Padraic after being lectured on the evils of distributing marijuana to good Catholic children (as opposed to selling to Protestant children, which Padraic deems marginally acceptable). Abruptly, Padraic decides to cut off one of James' nipples, letting him choose which one. Just before he starts cutting, Padraic gets the call from Donny saying that Wee Thomas is doing poorly and off his food. Padraic breaks down into tears and screams that he will be on the first boat back to Inishmore. He then shoots his mobile phone to pieces. James suggests that Wee Thomas may have ringworm and suggests ringworm tablets in some cheese, as his cat had the same problem a month or two back. When he realizes that James loves his cat, Padraic releases him after extracting a promise not to sell more marijuana, and gives him money for the bus to the hospital.

Scene 3[edit]

The Road. Davey is tinkering with his bicycle when his younger sister Mairead shoots him in the cheek with her air rifle for hurting Wee Thomas. Davey attempts to explain that his innocence and accuses Mairead of being mad for shooting the eyes out of ten cows in an earlier incident. Mairead, who is 16, explains it was her version of terrorism against the meat industry. She continues to accuse Davey of the death of Wee Thomas. In the discussion, it becomes clear that she is in love with Padraic and shares both his political stances and his devotion to cats. Davey explains that Donny has him searching the countryside for another black cat to replace Wee Thomas. Their argument is interrupted by Christy, a tall, sinister-looking man with an eyepatch. He says that he is a friend of Padraic, and also accuses Davey of killing Wee Thomas. Again, Davey denies this. He also tells Christy that Padraic will be back the next day at noon. Christy leaves, but not before again accusing Davey of murdering the cat deliberately. In response, Mairead destroys Davey's bike.

Scene 4[edit]

Donny's House. Having been unable to find a black cat to impersonate Wee Thomas, Davey has stolen Mairead's cat Sir Roger (who is orange). They attempt to paint the cat black with shoe polish. Donny and Davey both agree that the plan is unlikely to work, but are running out of time and options. The two are drunk, and bond over their shared love of eating shoe polish. They agree that if their plan fails, Padraic will kill them.

Scene 5[edit]

The Road. Christy and two other men, Brendan and Joey, sit eating beans. It is revealed that they are members of INLA (a splinter group of the IRA) come to assassinate Padraic. Joey is sullen and unhappy with the other two for killing Wee Thomas, an act necessary to lure Padraic back to Inishmore and set him off guard. The three bicker sharply, and there is a brief Mexican stand-off before cooler heads prevail. They set off to await Padraic's return, not knowing their conversation has been overheard by Mairead.

Scene 6[edit]

The Docks. It is very early in the morning. Padriac gets off the boat to discover Mairead waiting for him, singing "The Patriot Game", an old IRA ballad. He recognizes her and mocks her for her lack of femininity, dismissing her ambitions to join the fight to Free Ireland despite her protestations that she is a crack shot. She attempts to flirt with him and he rejects her advances. She sullenly delivers a message from Donny: that Wee Thomas is "over the worst of it." In Padraic's joy at the good news, he kisses her. She grabs him and deepens the kiss. Confused, he begins the long walk back into town and she once again begins to sing "The Patriot Game."

Scene 7[edit]

Donny's House. Davey and Donny, exhausted and now seriously drunk, decide to call it a night. They will put the finishing touches on the cat the next morning before Padraic arrives. Davey has made a cross to mark Wee Thomas' grave. Donny instructs Davey several times to wake him at nine AM, and they go to sleep.

Scene 8[edit]

Donny's House. Noon. Davey has failed to wake up Donny in time, and they are still asleep when Padraic arrives. He finds the grave marker, flies into a rage, wakes them up and demands to know where the cat is. They indicate the decoy, claiming it has a disease that makes it smell like shoe polish and "get all orangey". Padraic isn't fooled and angrily shoots the cat, blowing it to pieces. He ties up both his father and Davey and is finally told that Wee Thomas is dead. He is prepared to shoot them both for letting the cat die in their care when the three INLA agents burst into the room and hold him at gunpoint. The gunmen bind his hands. They tell Padraic that he has angered the group with his brutal maiming of a drug dealer under their protection, and also with his talk of forming a splinter group from their splinter group. It is also discovered that Padraic is responsible for Christy's missing eye. Davey taunts the bound Padraic, causing him to fly into a rage. As he is dragged outside, he promises that he will be back to kill them. Donny and Davey, still nervous, express relief that it appears to be over when shots fire off stage. The three agents come running back into the house, their eyes shot out by Mairead. They fire outside the house blindly. Padraic and Mairead walk calmly into the house, holding hands. Padraic shoots each of the three agents in turn. Padraic asks her to join him in the fight for a free Ireland, and she accepts. Having found love, they are about to execute Donny and Davey when Christy feebly rises up and apologizes to Padraic for killing his cat. Padraic, flying into a rage, drags Christy off into the next room to torture him before he dies.

Scene 9[edit]

Evening. The stage is by now strewn with blood and dismembered body parts. Padraic is quietly sitting on Christy's horribly mutilated corpse, clutching the body of Wee Thomas, which he has dug up from Donny's backyard. Donny and Davey are reluctantly chopping up the bodies of Brendan and Joey to prevent identification. Mairead enters, wearing a striking dress. She and Padraic discuss their plans for the future, perhaps forming their own splinter group, which Padraic calls "Wee Thomas's Army". Mairead mentions that she was unable to find her cat, Sir Roger, to say goodbye. Davey remembers with horror that the cat has been killed by Padraic. He retrieves the cat's collar and flings it out the window before the lovers can notice it. Padraic asks Mairead to marry him. She goes in the next room to wash the blood off her dress, and returns clutching the mangled body of Sir Roger. She kisses Padraic. As he relaxes in bliss, she draws both of his pistols and shoots him in the head. She commands Donny and Davey to clean up, promising to return the next day and investigate what Sir Roger was doing in the house in the first place. Bemoaning their luck, Donny and Davey continue to work when suddenly a meowing is heard and a black cat enters the house. It is, amazingly, Wee Thomas, who had been "out gallivanting" while a poor stray was mistakenly killed in his place. Donny and Davey express shock and anger that four men and two cats are dead for no good reason. They resolve to kill Wee Thomas in retribution. After holding the poor feline at gunpoint, however, they decide against it, and give it a bowl of frosties for supper, as Donny had previously been arguing Wee Thomas was fond of, as the play ends.

Characters[3][edit]

  • Padraic: (Male. Age: 20 – 25. Lead)
  • Davey: (Male. Age: 17.[4] Lead)
  • Donny: (Male. Age: 45 – 50. Lead)
  • Mairead: (Female. Age: 16.[4] Lead)
  • Christy: (Male. Age: 30 – 50. Supporting)
  • Brendan: (Male. Age: 18 – 25. Supporting)
  • Joey/James: (Male. Age: 18 – 25. Supporting)

Productions[edit]

After London it began a run at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City on 27 February 2006, garnering several Lucille Lortel Award nominations and procuring an Obie Award for Martin McDonagh. It the transferred to the Lyceum Theatre, on Broadway on 3 May 2006. The opening night cast included Jeff Binder, Andrew Connolly, Dashiell Eaves, Peter Gerety, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian d'Arcy James, Alison Pill, and David Wilmot. It was directed by Wilson Milam. It closed on 3 September 2006.

Less than one year later, it ran at Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 12 July to 4 August 2007. This production featured, for the first time, special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin, who has since worked on nine other Inishmore productions.

Recent American runs include productions at GableStage, in Coral Gables, Florida, from 11 August to 9 September 2007, at Fusion Theatre Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 25 October to 18 November 2007, featuring special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin, and at the Alley Theatre, in the Houston Theater District. It ran from 25 January to 24 February 2008. Also, Curious Theatre Company in Denver, Colorado produced a highly acclaimed production directed by Chip Walton that ran from 8 March to 19 April 2008, featuring a live cat named Thomas, dead bodies and cats made by Annette Westerby and special effects designed by Steve Tolin.

The Archway Theatre in Horley, Surrey ran a production of play in March/April 2008.[5]

The West Coast premiere ran from 25 April to 3 May 2008 at San Jose State University's Hal Todd Theatre featuring Sean Gilvary (EQUUS) as Davey.

It ran in Lima, Peru at Teatro La Plaza ISIL, from 24 April to 1 July 2008. This production also featured special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin.

It ran at the New Repertory Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts 26 October-16 November 2008. This production also featured special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin.

The most recent independent Australian production runs 30 September to 18 October 2008, at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts in Brisbane, Queensland, with special permission by Dominie Pty. Ltd. It also ran at the Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis from 17 September to 13 October 2008 as a part of the company's Off-Ramp series. It was nominated for five Kevin Kline Awards, of which it took home one. This production also featured special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin.

Jobsite Theater in Tampa, Florida ran the show through 12 April 2009 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Jobsite had previously produced McDonagh's The Pillowman and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. This production featured special effects rigs and props designed by Steve Tolin and Curious Theater Company's Annette Westerby, who have worked on many other Inishmore productions.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California ran the show 17 April through 24 May 2009 under the direction of Obie award winner Les Waters. Waters previously directed Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. This production also featured special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin.

A Chicago area production at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Illinois ran from 29 April 2009 to 7 June 2009. It was directed by B.J. Jones. This production featured special effects and props designed by Steve Tolin, for which he won the 2009 Jeff Award for Outstanding Achievement in Special Effects.

Center Theatre Group's Los Angeles production ran from 11 July-8 August 2010.[4] The cast included Coby Getzug as Davey Claven, Sean G. Griffin as Donny, Chris Pine as Padraic, Brett Ryback as James, Zoe Perry as Mairead, Andrew Connolly as Christy, Kevin Kearns as Brendan, and Ian Alda as Joey.

Performed by the Young People's Theatre (Essex) in January 2012, with Andrew Steel in the role of Donny.

A Charleston area production by Threshold Repertory Theatre ran from January 26-February 19, 2012. Directed by Robert Lutfy, the cast included Peter Galle as Padraic, Laura Artesi as Mairead, Robyn Farmer as Donny, Bronson Taylor as Davie, Shawn Stoner as Brendan, Shawn Riggs as Joey, JC Conway as Christy, and Mike Kordek as James.

A production of the play at Binghamton University ran from April 26-28 2013. Directed by Kevin Gleeson, it starred Jared Gordon as Davey, Sean Marrin as Donny, Brendan Icso as Padraic, and Jackie Horn as Mairead.

A production of the play at The Masquers Playhouse in Richmond, California ran from August 23 through September 28, of 2013.[6] It was directed by John Maio and starred Alan Coyne as Davey, Avi Jacobson as Donny, Damien Seperi as Padraic, Cherie Girard-Brodigan as Mairead, Dan Kurtz as James and Joey, Jesse MacKinnon as Brendan, and David Stein as Christy.

Awards[edit]

  • 2006 Alfréd Radok Award for Best Play
  • 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play
  • 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - David Wilmot
  • 2006 Obie Award for Playwriting - Martin McDonagh
  • 2009 Jeff Award for Outstanding Achievements in Special Effects - Steve Tolin
  • 2009 San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor - Adam Farabee
  • 2009 San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Fight Director - Dave Maier
  • 2009 San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/07/theater-review-the-lieutenant-of-inishmore-at-the-mark-taper-forum.html LA Times: Entertainment. Theater review: 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' at the Mark Taper Forum. "Cat fanciers beware: The plot of "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," the unruly black comedy by Martin McDonagh, hinges on a mangled kitty, and feline abuse greets us in all its gory depravity (including a shellacking with shoe polish)." Date accessed: 7 November 2010.
  2. ^ The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh and Directed by Kurt Beattie. A Contemporary Theatre (ACT). October 2010. Program. Encore arts programs. encoreartsprograms.com.
  3. ^ Stage Agent. Date accessed: 7 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Reiner, Jay (13 July 2010). "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' a gruesome pleasure". Reuters. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Back Catalog Production Notes
  6. ^ Date accessed: 23 September 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • McDonagh, Martin (2001). The Lieutenant of Inishmore. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-76500-8. 

External links[edit]