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October 6, 2016

Dark comedy ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ kicks off SVSU theatre season

The Saginaw Valley State University Theatre Department will stage its production of Martin McDonagh’s classic “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” beginning Wednesday, Oct. 12 in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

The play is set in 1934, when the people of Inishmaan learn Hollywood director Robert Flaherty is coming to the neighboring island to film his documentary “Man of Aran.” No one is more excited than Cripple Billy, an unloved boy whose chief occupation had been gazing at cows and yearning for a girl who wants no part of him. For Billy is determined to cross the sea and audition for the Yank. And as news of his audacity ripples through his rumor-starved community, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” becomes a merciless portrayal of a world so comically cramped and mean-spirited that hope is an affront to its order.

“It’s a very dark comedy; it pokes fun at certain things we wouldn’t normally laugh at,” said David Rzeszutek, SVSU associate professor of theatre and the production’s director.

The audience can expect to relate to the characters in unexpected ways.

“Often times, it’s the darker side of us that we don’t want to share with everybody else,” Rzeszutek said.

Rzeszutek said he is very excited about the challenges that the students have been embracing.

“The greatest challenge for the actors is the use of the Irish dialect,” he said. “For the first time in our department, we have a dialect coach to assist the students.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Oct. 15; on Sunday, Oct. 16, there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Tickets are $13 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. “The Cripple of Inishmaan” features mature language. For more information please contact the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261.

The production is the first of three plays planned for the fall semester at SVSU. “A Raisin In The Sun” is scheduled for November and “Christmas of Yesteryear: 1940’s Radio Variety Show” is planned for November and December.