November 30th, 2007

occult, dark, satanic

The Seafarer review

First of all, I haven't seen McPherson's other plays, so I can't compare as to which one (if any) are the more well-written of the bunch. From my understanding, this slightly biographical piece (mainly in the sense that McPherson was going through alcohol withdrawal at the time, same as 'Sharky', the main character) is a great example of the sllllllllloooow irish drama we have come to know and love (or hate). It is an intellectual play, that causes one to actually sit and watch as the drama unfolds. It is subtle in its plot and upfront with its humour. The plot, itself, doesn't really take off until the very end of the first Act, by which point a lot of red herrings have popped up that insinuate plot elements, but really never make another appearance again. On Playbill this is billed as a ghost story, but there is only one three-minute conversation about a ghost and then it is never talked about again. This story is more of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" type drama, except in this case, the devil doesn't really come across as much of anything but a scorned sore loser. Could that be what McPherson was trying to say? That there is a devil in all of us seeking revenge in our hell of self-loating and bitterness? Could be. If so, great job, it came across. But the first act wasn't really needed to tell us that. If you like McPherson's work, go see it. If not, don't pay too much for it. It's not all that great. The title is quite symbolic actually, and is subtly mentioned in Act II about whom the seafarer refers to. I also liked the set, and some of the lighting, and some of the sound design. The entire depressing, drunken feel wasn't very reassuring or interesting to me, as well as the interspersing of modern technology in with the traditional setting in which the story takes place. Maybe Ireland is really like that, a mix of old and new clashing and having one or the other look out of place. It just doesn't look right on stage. The accents were nice though, and convincing. But it's just another drunken Irish drama for more people to see.

2 out of 5.