Next up for Theatre in the Park is a pixilated production of Stones in His Pockets, a zany two-character comedy written by Belfast, Northern Ireland playwright Marie Jones and directed by Triangle theater veteran and TIP mainstay David Henderson (Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol), on March 2-4, 8-11, and 16-18 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre. The show debuted in West Belfast in 1996, and a 1999 Belfast production of Stones in His Pockets transferred to the West End, opening in May 2000 at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London, where the play won the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Comedy and the 2001 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
The show’s 1999 Belfast cast of Seán Campion and Conleth Hill opened the show in London, playing two rural Irish lads who are hired as extras for a big-budget Hollywood film to be shot on location in County Kerry. (The film is called The Quiet Valley to evoke memories of The Quiet Man, director John Ford’s 1952 masterpiece starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara).
Messrs. Campion and Hill were nominated for the 2001 Tony Award® for Best Actor in Play after the show made its Broadway debut on April 1, 2001 at the John Golden Theatre, where it played 198 performances.
The Theatre in the Park presentation of Stones in His Pockets will star TIP stalwart Mike Raab (the Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol) and Triangle theater veteran Ryan Brock (George in Of Mice and Men). In the Greater Tuna tradition, Messrs. Brock and Raab will also play a veritable smorgasbord of meaty roles — both earthy Irish townspeople and spoiled-rotten Tinseltown types — who experience a hilarious culture clash during the making of the film in rural Ireland.
According to Theatre in the Park:
“Combining a Hollywood film crew, a small Irish town, 15 memorable characters, and only two actors, Stones in His Pockets is a funny, moving play that will make you hold your breath in anticipation of who the actor will play next. You will be astounded by the deftness that each actor takes as he may not be the same sex, age, or nationality he was before.
“Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn, like much of the town, are employed as extras for a big Hollywood film. Much of the comedy of the play is derived from the efforts of the production crew to create the proper ‘Irish feel,’ a romanticized notion that often conflicts with the reality of daily life.”
In reviewing the show’s critically acclaimed London run, which included more than 1,000 performances, The Guardian wrote:
“[Stones in His Pockets] is clearly magical, this comedy by Belfast writer, Marie Jones, dealing as it does with myths, memories, class and sex, with two actors who create a whole world on stage. Jones’s subject, the disruptive impact of a film crew on a small Irish community, may not be brand new — it was the theme of Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan — but what is refreshing is her wide awake view of Hollywood cultural colonialism….
“In the end, Jones’s play is a passionate defence of daily reality in a world crazed by celebrity and dominated by the hackneyed tastes of the movie tsars. Even if her conclusion has a strained, feel-good quality, she has a ruthlessly sharp eye for the effects of cinematic imperialism. But much of the evening’s joy comes from the dazzling virtuosity of the two performers [who] catch the absurdity of movie making as the extras react to non-existent events and yet execute an Irish reel with panache. The play itself not only sends up the delirious fantasy of film, it becomes a moving and heartfelt tribute to the imaginative power of live performance.”
Theatre in the Park presents STONES IN HIS POCKETS at 7:30 p.m. March 2 and 3, 3 p.m. March 4, 7:30 p.m. March 8-10, and 3 p.m. March 11, 7:30 p.m. March 16 and 17, and 3 p.m. March 18 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre, 107 Pullen Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
TICKETS: $22 ($16 students, seniors 60+, and active-duty military personnel).
BOX OFFICE: 919/831-6058 or http://www.etix.com/.
The Play: http://www.popularproductions.com/stonesinhispockets.htm (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stones_in_his_pockets (Wikipedia).
The Playwright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Jones (Wikipedia).
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