The Cripple of Inishmaan set for the Long Beach Playhouse

Jul 14, 2022
The Cripple of Inishmaan at Long Beach Playhouse

Inishmaan, a small island of rocky rocks off the Irish coast, is home to impoverished fishermen and farmers as well as their families. To cope with the cruelly indifferent reality of their island, they spend their energy and time picking at each other. Playwright Martin McDonagh created the tragicomic yarn, The Cripple of Inishmaan, from their sad dissatisfactions.

The Cripple of Inishmaan is set in 1934, as a ray of hope spreads over Inishmaan when Hollywood director Robert Flaherty sets up shop on neighboring island to film his latest project. Inishmaan is abuzz with anticipation, but no one is more excited than Cripple Billy Claven, an unloved boy whose chief occupation has been watching cows and fantasizing about a girl who wants no part of him. His dream of getting away from the island of Inishmaan seems to come true when he gets the chance to audition.

McDonagh, who brought us The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the 2017 Oscar-nominated film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is known for his dark comedy and characters who balance on his famous tightrope of cruelty, kindness, human and vulnerability. The Cripple of Inishmaan is considered McDonagh's contemporary comic masterpiece with his eccentric island characters trading stories as Billy Claven tries to make sense of who he is.

"McDonagh's characters are complex, certainly damaged. Billy isn't the only cripple in the play," said Sean Gray, Artistic Director for the Playhouse. "These are people who live in a barren, unforgiving island. The cruelty of their landscape has taken root in their lives.

The Cripple of Inishmaan is a counterpoint to romanticized versions of Irish life historically depicted in plays and movies. This masterful script shatters the stereotypes. Our cast and director are finding all the right notes to make this a show our audience will love."

Executive Director, Madison Mooney, said, "We did McDonagh's Lieutenant of Inishmore in 2011 to great audience acclaim. I'm certain The Cripple of Inishmaan will be just as popular. I'm really impressed with what the actors and director are doing. It will be a great show."

The show's director, Susan Boulanger, comes to the Playhouse with many years of experience directing, acting and teaching theater arts. Boulanger says Billy's certainty "every fella takes his heart in his hands and make a try for something, even though he knows it's a one in a million chance of him getting it," is the pivot point for this wickedly brilliant play. Further, she says, "We can follow Billy's example and, in spite of the hard times we've come out of, and the absurdities and cruelties of the world around us, we can find that thing that has a one in a million chance of coming through and go for it anyway."