Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Skull in Connemara

Mick, digging grave as Mairitn looks on
Lantern Theater Company, located in St. Stephen's Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, is producing the Philadelphia Premiere of A Skull in Connemara through February 13. Written by acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, this show is being offered as part of the Philadelphia Irish Theatre Festival. Six Philadelphia-area theatre companies are presenting works by Irish playwrights between now and May 2011. With the Irish Mix-Tix, available only on, you can order tickets to two or more plays and save 20% off the ticket prices. The festival is featuring 3 works by McDonagh, and if A Skull in Connemara is representative of his work, you’ll want to avail yourself of the discount so that you can see this play as well as others. Stephen Novelli, as Mick, the widower who is hired each fall to disinter old bones from the small local cemetery, is excellent in the  portrayal of his complex character. (You can easily be fooled by his initial laid-back charm.) While wondering if anyone can actually be so backward, you’ll marvel at Jake Blouch’s portrayal of the young Mairtin. Unlike the persona of Mick, Mairtin’s character is simple throughout, and Blouch never deviates from this simplicity. Despite this, or perhaps enhanced by it, there are several plot twists along the way. Set designer Dirk Durosette won a 2008 Barrymore nomination for Skylight at the Lantern, and he deserves another for A Skull in Connemara.  It can’t be easy to design a set which includes two locations when there is not curtain on the stage, but to say that Durosette was successful would be an understatement. The audience is privy not only to a cozy fireplace enhanced living room, but to a very credible cemetery as well. Come prepared laugh as you enjoy this somewhat macabre creation. Enjoy post-show Artists in Conversation if you attend the Sunday, Jan 23 matinee at 2:00PM.  A Directors: In Conversation will be held at 700: PM, prior to the performance on Friday January 21. You will have an opportunity to speak with the Artistic Director at 7:00 PM on Friday, February 4. For tickets call 215-829-0395 or visit online at

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