The Seafarer

by Conor McPherson

Conor McPherson’s play The Seafarer was written in 2006. It tells the story of James ‘Sharky’ Harkin an alcoholic who has returned home after being let go from his job as a chauffeur, to care for his older, recently blinded, brother Richard. There is tension between the two from the start, as on the eve of Christmas, Richard invites a few people over for drinks when Sharky is trying to stay off the booze. Set in a coastal suburb of North Dublin, friend of the family, Ivan, turns up to play cards. Nicky Giblin, Sharky’s love rival, also turns up accompanied by the somewhat mysterious Mr Lockhart. Initially it is not clear who the stranger is but as the play unfolds Lockhart reveals in a number of private conversations with Sharky that they have met before, in prison 25 years ago. Sharky wagered his soul in a card game with Mr Lockhart in exchange for his freedom. Sharky won his freedom with the proviso that Lockhart might return one day to play him once more. Now Lockhart has returned. The stakes are high with Lockhart ultimately hoping to win Sharky’s soul.
All the characters in this play need to be played with absolute truth. Each part has a complexity to their character which will need skill and commitment to unearth in the process of rehearsals. All of the men’s stories are glimpsed through the dialogue and will require some exploring to find the ‘truth’ for each character. In true Conor McPherson’s style, the play is reliant on story telling throughout and strong teamwork will be needed to allow the stories to unfold in a naturalistic and believable way.

Original

James ‘Sharky’ Harkin - Nick Lund

50’s – Erstwhile world worn fisherman and recovering alcoholic van driver and chauffer. Small man but wiry and strong. Has the lines of his tough life etched on his face.

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Richard Harkin - Paul Foster

50’s – 60’s - Sharky’s older brother, scruffy, unwashed, unshaven and smelly, likes a drink and often switches from happy go lucky to the ‘poor old me’s’ but in light of the fact that he has recently gone blind we might forgive his demeanour.

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Ivan Curry - Philip Audaer

Late 40’s – old friend of the Harkins – also likes a drink and has been looking after Richard in Sharky’s absence. Kind hearted burly man and a somewhat lost soul with his homelife often featuring in the dialogue throughout.

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Nicky Giblin - Tom Keating

40’s – 50’s - Love rival of Sharky and friend of Richard. Higher energy character often seeming in good humour. Around Sharky’s age possibly younger. Has set up home with Sharky’s ex girlfriend resulting in some tension between Sharky and Nicky.

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Mr Lockhart - Neil James

50’s – strange and mysterious acquaintance of Nicky’s. Well-dressed in stark contrast to the others. Looks like a wealthy businessman – confident and set apart from the others. However, he is not all he seems.

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Director - Nancy Lund

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Stage Manager - Liz Thomas

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman