Playboy of the Western World

J.M. Synge 

The Pearl TheatreCompany

New York City Center

October 10, 2009

A classic like all the Pearl’s productions.  Playboy was first performed in playwright J. M. Synge’s native Ireland in 1907, two years before his untimely death of Hodgkin’s disease at 38 years old.

The lead, Christy Mahon, is played by future star Sean McNall, a member of this wonderful repertory company.  Sean has appeared as Hamlet, and occasionally plays a support role, but he is the star of the company in my estimation.  Here, though, he is matched in stage presence  by newcomer Lee Stark as Pegeen Mike, the Inn keeper who takes Christy in.  Stark is from Chicago where she has numerous credits and we look forward to seeing her in the future.

Playboy is a tight piece about a young man on the run from killing his father, he thinks. But the old codger is a tough bird and doesn’t die from being conked on the head with an ax and comes looking for revenge.  He catches up with his son who has been accepted as a hero.  Not sure how that works, but the fact that he is an athletic, dashing young man probably explains the attention he receives from girls and women alike.

The tale holds up, but more important is that the Pearl continues to put out excellent productions of classic plays.  Now in their new home at the much more accessible City Center in midtown Manhattan, you can hardly go wrong by attending any of their plays, especially with Sean McNall in the lead role.

And now we have another up and comer to look out for:  Lee Stark.