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The Cripple of Inishmaan - Acting Edition by…

The Cripple of Inishmaan - Acting Edition (edition 1998)

by Martin McDonagh (Author)

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213682,988 (4.15)16
Title:The Cripple of Inishmaan - Acting Edition
Authors:Martin McDonagh (Author)
Info:Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (1998), Edition: First Edition, 72 pages
Collections:Plays, Irish Lit Major, Your library

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The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh



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A wickedly humorous, bittersweet play that - like the bulk of McDonagh's work - runs deeper than first seems. Billy the Cripple is an orphan raised by his eccentric aunts on the Island of Inishmaan in 1934. Actually the entire population of the island is eccentric. When an American film crew shows up on a nearby island Billy and several others travel over to try their luck at being cast. The crazy and perfectly human residents all react in their own fashion. A beautiful play. ( )
  Hagelstein | Dec 28, 2016 |
Really enjoyable, great characters and so much dark humor. ( )
  jadedlioness | Dec 29, 2015 |
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
Scene One

A snug corner of one of those ‘plastic paddy’ pubs you can find anywhere, circa 2013. Guinness posters and adverts for ‘Curry Nite’ along the back wall, a few tables and chairs. The Review sits at a table in the corner, a slim volume in one hand, a Guinness in the other. The Talker enters from left and sits down a couple of tables away from The Reviewer. The Talker sits and sips, turning his head this way and that, like a bird, trying to see the title of the slim volume. He waits until The Reviewer drinks before speaking.

Talker Is it poetry, you’re reading?

Reviewer Pardon?

Talker Poetry? Poems like.

Reviewer No.

Talker Ah. Normally, you see a book that size, it’s poetry. Or some pretentious wank short story. They’re the only fellas can charge seven quid for a hundred pages. That and kiddies’ books. Not a kiddies’ book is it?

Reviewer No, it’s not a children’s book.

Talker Right. Why would a grown-up be reading a kiddies’ book? Unless they were retarded.

Reviewer I’m not a…it’s not a children’s book.

Talker Or a peado.

Reviewer What? I’m not a pead… Oh! For heaven’s sake. (Waves book). It’s a play. It’s a play called ‘The cripple of Inishmaan’, by a chap called Martin McDonagh.

Talker And what would that be about?

Reviewer It’s set in Ireland, on a tiny little island, in the nineteen thirties. It’s about a boy called Billy who wants to be in a film, a Hollywood film, that’s being filmed on the next island. It’s about family and friends and secrets and the people on the island. It’s a comedy.

Talker It doesn’t sound very funny.

Reviewer What, no, it’s funny. Really.

Talker Cripples and life in rural Ireland in the nineteen thirties? Not a lot of scope for comedy there. Unless you’re taking the piss out of the Irish. Or cripples.

Reviewer What? No!

Talker Anyways, I didn’t hear you laughing.

Reviewer Well, reading a play is different to seeing a play, isn’t it. Thing is, a play should be seen, really. But there can be pleasure in reading one, like this one, you just have to make a bit of an effort. You have to imagine the theatre filling up around you, you have to imagine the lights going down and make an effort to, well, sort of play all the different parts yourself, and imagine the applause and the laughter, in your head, make the play come to life, in your head. It’s about making the experience a bit more authentic.

Talker If that’s true, shouldn’t you be having a gin and tonic before you start reading. Then another at the interval? Rather than Guinness?

Reviewer Well, yes, maybe. But I thought Guinness would add to the authenticity.

Talker Ah, so the Irish people in the play drink Guinness?

Reviewer No.

Talker Ah. And are they authentically Irish? In your head like?

Reviewer Well, they’re certainly authentically Irish on the page. That is, they say ‘feck’ a lot, which I suppose is authentic. The speech is lyrical and life on a small Irish island is, well, pretty much as you would imagine it, except with less nuns. I think what I’m trying to say is that the comedy comes through even if you are reading it, by yourself, in a quiet corner of a pub. The voices from the page, from the playwright’s imagination, populate the reader’s. The rhythm builds, with the plot and lyrical tempo of the words twisting together until suddenly, in a very Irish manner, there is a sort of poetry. Even the laughs seem to come at the right time.

Talker So, is it any good?

Reviewer (Flips book back and forth a few times). Yes. It’s very good. It’s good enough to make me wish I’d seen it when it was on, it’s even good enough to make me consider seeing an am dram production should I see one advertised.

Talker Steady now.

Reviewer I know, I know. How good is it? Good enough to make me finish this scene before getting myself another Guinness. Then again, it is slim volume after all.

Blackout ( )
  macnabbs | Feb 21, 2014 |
I saw the play at the Noël Coward Theatre in London on 7/22/13, and read the script today.

This play, which initially premiered in London in 1997, was based on a true event, in which noted Hollywood director Robert Flaherty, who became famous for his 1921 documentary film Nanook of the North, came to the Irish island of Anan in 1932 to create another documentary about its people. The resultant film, Man of Aran was released in 1934 to critical acclaim, but the residents of the Irish Republic in general and Aran in particular denounced Flaherty for his condescension in his treatment of the islanders (as he put the lives of several local men at risk during the filming of one scene at sea), his stereotypical attitudes toward the Irish, and his ignorance of the poverty and struggles that they regularly faced.

The central character of The Cripple of Inishmaan is Billy Craven, known by the town's residents as Cripple Billy, a unattractive young man afflicted with cerebral palsy from a birth defect who lives with two unrelated "aunts" that operate a small grocery store; he was orphaned at a young age after the simultaneous deaths of his parents at sea. His days are filled with boredom, and his only escapes are reading books and staring at cows. Due to his physical deformity and homely face he has little hope of finding a mate, although he is very attracted to Helen McCormick, a stunning 17 year old redhead whose feistiness is exceeded only by her sharp tongue and good natured cruelty toward everyone in town, including Billy.

One day Johnnypateenmike, the local gossip, comes to the store to report that an American film director has come to a nearby town on the mainland, in order to recruit local actors for a film about Ireland, and those selected would travel to Hollywood and be guaranteed fame and a life free from work (since, as he said, "actors don't really work"). Helen convinces a local fisherman, Babbybobby, to transport her and her younger brother Bartley to the mainland town, as she is sure that her beauty will allow her to be chosen for the film and escape from her tedious life in Inishmaan. Billy manages to convince Babbybobby to secretly take him to the mainland as well, as he wants to pursue a career in acting and escape from his meaningless existence, while knowing that his aunts would strongly disapprove of this decision. Babbybobby returns to Inishmaan several days later, but he only brings back Helen and Bartley, as Billy was one of the ones chosen to travel to Hollywood for a screen test for the film.

The Cripple of Inishmaan is a dark and wicked comedy about Ireland, its people, their attraction to the perceived riches that America offers, and how the hopes and dreams that America promises don't always reflect the reality of life there. Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame was fabulous in the role of Cripple Billy, but Sarah Greene (Helen) and Pat Shortt (Johnnypattenmike) were also excellent, and the cast as a whole was a solid one. ( )
  kidzdoc | Jul 25, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375705236, Paperback)

In 1934, the people of Inishmaan learn that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island to film a documentary. No one is more excited than Cripple Billy, an unloved boy whose chief occupation has been grazing at cows and yearning for a girl who wants no part of him. For Billy is determined to cross the sea and audition for the Yank. And as news of his audacity ripples through his rumor-starved community, The Cripple of Inishmaan becomes a merciless portrayal of a world so comically cramped and mean-spirited that hope is an affront to its order.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland in 1934, The Cripple of Inishmaan is a strange comic tale in the great tradition of Irish storytelling." "As word arrives on Inishmaan that the Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighbouring island of Inishmore to film Man of Aran, the one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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