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Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan Comes to Broadway (2014)

June 7, was my twenty-first birthday and my parents got me tickets to go see the play, The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, on June 24. The play is currently on Broadway for a 14-week engagement in the Cort Theater. I went to the 7 P.M. show, but like any trip, this one had its setbacks.

I left at 5 PM from Long Island to NYC, but I got stuck in a massive traffic jam, I got five minutes late to the show, my ticket was for orchestra seats, but the five minutes that I was late earned me a viewing post in the back row. In the intermission, I moved to my orchestra seat and enjoyed a wonderful view of the actors and the stage.

The Cripple of Inishmann is essentially a coming-of-age story about Crippled Billy who want to try to get his chance to make it big, on the “Big Screen,” when he hears that Hollywood is making a film in Ireland. The play is comic and mingles laugh-out loud moments and moving punch-and-go moments, which will have you asking yourself “What’s next?” The show is hilariously funny, but its humor highlights the socio-political remarks of McDonagh. For example, the dialogue often refers to cows, goats, and geese etc. These animals stand-in for derogatory names that the English ascribed to the Irish during and after colonization, under the Tudor Dynasty; also, the play makes references to the Irish Civil War, and this is seen when Helen, shouts at her brother, Bartley, invoking the name of Michael Collins (one of the Irish Nationalist leaders). So, at its core, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a charged play that mixes Ireland’s historical and political context in its foreground.

The cast, including Daniel Radcliffe, was spectacular; it was a great night. My favorite part is when Billy is in a rundown hotel room. He is coughing and wheezing and coming to terms with what he never had in life. In this scene Radcliffe, immerses himself in his character and makes the audience the confidant of Billy’s confession. By making the audience Billy’s confidant, Radcliffe puts his acting skills to the task and excels at making Billy reach the peak of his vulnerability.

I highly recommend The Cripple of Inishmaan to anyone interested in reading or seeing it.

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