The Cripple of Inishmaan

by Martin McDonagh

The Cripple of Inishmaan had 4 performances over 16 years ago (between the 19th of July 2006 and the 22nd of July 2006) at The Riverhouse Barn

Like many Irish plays, The Cripple of Inishmaan combines humour, poignancy and a warm life-enhancing quality in the strong story-telling tradition.

Although the play is set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland in the 1930s, it was written in 1996 by Martin McDonagh, a young London playwright, It opened at the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre where it proved so popular it transferred for a long run at the Lyttleton Theatre and then moved to New York.

The play centres on Billy, the crippled young man of the title. His parents died at sea when he was a baby and he was raised by his soft-hearted aunts. After a life of teasing from his neighbours like the tempestuous Slippy Helen, Billy, along with all the village is excited when the village gossip announces that a Hollywood film company is coming to film on a neighbouring Aran Island.

Sensitive Billy longs to escape his narrow island life and sets sail to chase his dreams to find answers to questions he could never find at home.

The atmospheric set, lighting and sound encompass the aunts shop, a sea wall, a bedroom and a church hall.

The Characters: Most of the characters will need to be played with fairly broad brush strokes, to bring out their strong personalities and to heighten the rich earthy humour. But under that broad humour there is a bleaker and more violent reality. As Billy says at one point: 'There are plenty round just as crippled as me - only it isn't on the outside its showing.' Irish accents are essential, preferably west coast accents.

The nine roles offer an extraordinarily wide age range of roles.

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Eileen - Anne Nunn

Eileen and Kate are Billy’s aunts. They are Sisters of indeterminate age but 40+ .They run the Village shop. They are gullible, soft-hearted and unworldly. Having lived in this remote place all their lives their horizons are very restricted. They do not understand Billy but give them him their simple affection. These two provide much of the humour in the play. Eileen enjoys eating the sweets from the shop and that might reflect in her appearance. Kate spends some time talking to stones so might seem less ‘of this world’

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Kate - Linda Russell

Kate and Eileen are Billy’s aunts. They are sisters of indeterminate age but 40+ .They run the Village shop. They are gullible, soft-hearted and unworldly. Having lived in this remote place all their lives their horizons are very restricted. They do not understand Billy but give them him their simple affection. These two provide much of the humour in the play. Eileen enjoys eating the sweets from the shop and that might reflect in her appearance. Kate spends some time talking to stones so might seem less ‘of this world’

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Johnny Pateenmike - Roy Selfe

The village gossip who loves to tell a story– some of them real but many tall! He tours the village with snippets of gossip which he embellishes and gradually distributes in return for little favours. He enjoys his position and relishes keeping his avid listeners waiting for his gems.

Original

Billy - Nick Lund

Should look young. Although his leg is crippled his mind is active. He is thoughtful, sensitive, lacking in self-pity and to some extent the most intelligent of the characters we meet. Throughout the play he must explore a range of feelings on his emotional and physical journey

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Bartley - Jamie Sims

Billy’s young ‘friend’ . Not the brightest bulb in the candelabra! His chief interest seems to be the (poor) selection of sweets on offer at the village shop. Quite blatant and innocently dismissive of Billy’s crippled condition – yet he remains a very engaging character. Both he and Billy suffer at the hands of Slippy Helen

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Slippy Helen - Hannah Bates

Physically aggressive! Very abrasive with her tongue! She has a hard-as-nails shell and seems very sexually aware! She steers her own her own full-throttle path and woe-be-tide anyone who gets her path. But is their a yearning heart beneath that tough shield? Bartley’s sister - should look young

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Babbybobby - Marc Anderson

Middle-aged man of the sea. The knowing boatman who may help Billy on his escape. A somewhat enigmatic character who seem to know something dark about the strange death of Billy’s parents. There is something sinister – almost sadistic about him

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Mammy - Jill Payne

Johnny’s old mother. Clinging on to life much against her son’s will! She clearly enjoys her tipple which seems to keep her alive and thus spite her son!

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Dr McSharry - Ian Thomas

The village doctor. His professional bearing is a considerable contrast to the simplicity of most of his patients. He has lived with these people for some time so knows their eccentric ways. He has amusing scene with Johhny and his mother, Almost any age but probably 30 + to give him the necessary gravitas.

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Director - Colin Dolley

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock

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Lighting - Bill Payne

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Lighting (Assistant) - Jonathan Miller

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Continuity - Gillian Smithies

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Stage Manager (assistant) - Liz Thomas

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Wardrobe - Judith Dolley

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Wardrobe - Jill Payne

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Front of House Manager - Keith Bollands

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Projectionist - Mark Humble