It’s a rainy Friday. It’s very difficult to drive on North East 2nd Street because construction workers have designed a new roadway for people to go through. Cars take other routes to make their trip easier.
That’s exactly what one needs to get to the theater on time. The front gates are already open to the public, but the performance does not start until 8:00 o’clock. Thank God it’s only 7:45.
I’m at the Pelican Theatre at Barry University where The Naked Stage presents The Lonesome West, a play that belongs to The Leenane trilogy by playwright Martin McDonagh. With a strong sense of irony and humor, it examines the issue of violence within a country family. One of the most internationally-recognized young talents, Anglo-Irish McDonagh won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2006.
Six Shooter, a motion picture he wrote and directed, also earned the Audience Award at the Leuven International Short Film Festival in the same year. By visiting Galway in the summers, the writer became familiar with the dialect of English spoken in the western Ireland. This element would later develop into a pungent feature in his work.
The presentation of The Naked Stage has its strengths and weaknesses. The cast, for instance, is very convincing in their interpretation of the characters. Antonio Amadeo, John Manzelli, Katherine Amadeo, and Adam Simpson give blood to the quarrelsome brothers, the candid Girleen, and the sensitive priest, respectively. It’s also worthy of recognition the work done by Manzelli at choreographing the fights and so is the job of Katherine Amadeo in the dialect coaching.
The use of an emphasized naturalistic setting, however, does not allow the actors to create what is known as metalanguage of actions, scenes, physical movements etc., which would have made the two-hour performance less strenuous to the viewers.
Putting on stage The Lonesome West is a demanding task. First, there is the need for the actors to translate the play from dialect to understandable English. Secondly, the script has to be readapted to its original state. In that process, the director may choose (or not) to engage himself and the cast in the re-creation of the play. When going to a theater, spectators need to find the director’s point of view rather than the author’s. Otherwise, they could have stayed home reading the play.
Martin McDonagh’s work is thought-provoking and insolent at once. It has a flavor of Harold Pinter’s British television comedy. The Naked Stage adaptation is a contemporary approach that make The Lonesome Waste not to be a waste.