By Jovanna Sanchez
ELAC theatre’s rendition of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” is funny and captivating with an overall charming cast.
It is the unfortunate tale of Billy Claven, referred to as Crippled Billy for most of the play, played by Joe Mejia, it is a crippled orphan boy who was adopted by his aunt Kate Osbourne, played by Mayuhmi Roehm, and her sister Eileen, played by Amy Hughson.
The play’s setting is the Aran islands in Ireland. It is quickly understood that they live in a small town or village, as all the characters know each other. This is best introduced with the character Johnny Patinemike, played by Evan Garcia, who is the town gossip and feels as though it is his duty to know and spread the news of the village.
The brother-sister characters of Helen and Bartely McCormick, played by Kathleen Nunez and Fredo Cervantes, also help with the vibe of this small village. The entire town is spellbound with the idea of Hollywood, when a crew begins filming in Ireland. Helen, a promiscuous girl with a tough exterior, her naïve but fairly good hearted brother, along with Babbybobby Bennett, a jagged boatsman who lost his wife to tuberculosis, decide to crash the set and maybe find stardom.
Once he hears the news, Billy cannot pass up this opportunity and decides to join them. Each of the characters portrayal was their own yet fit very well together. The characters had to put on an Irish accent that, for the most part, they pulled off well.
Cervantes laid on the accent a little heavy at times making it a bit hard to follow, while Adam Chacon, who played Doctor McSharry, laid it on very lightly making it easy to forget he was playing an Irishman. Auntie Kate’s drifting from reality is displayed in a very comedic way, as is Johnny Patinemike’s mother Mammy O’Dougal’s alcoholism. It is hard to feel sorry for the women or anyone in this village.
Everyone seems to be very selfish and cold, but throughout the dialogue between the characters it’s easy to see they really care about each other. Also the clever way that they \cursed without sounding nasty supported the comedic composition that the play carried.
The set design was very well-crafted. Each transition was smooth and although it was the same building, they really did a lot with it. The music and lighting helped the ambiance of each scene, making each one stand on its own.
Everything was well-timed and worked well with the whole feel of the play. This is a dark comedy, poking fun at gloomy situations like being born with disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease that comes at an old age, sexual harassment, and even hating your mother and trying to kill her through her own addiction.
Somehow the audience found themselves laughing at these harsh realities while still hoping for the characters’ success.
This does not have a happy ending, but it still feels as though each of the characters win.