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Palm Beach Dramaworks
The Cripple of Inishmaan
by  Martin McDonagh

Opens May 19
at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre

Dreams are in short supply on the desolate island of Inishmaan, particularly for the sensitive, physically challenged Billy Claven in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan. So when word arrives that an American filmmaker is coming to the neighboring island of Inishmore to make a motion picture, Billy goes after a part in the movie, hoping for a trip to Hollywood and escape from the cruelty and bleakness that engulf him. McDonagh’s darkly comic work opens at Palm Beach Dramaworks on May19 and continues through June 4, with specially priced previews on May 17 and 18.  

The play, set in 1934, is inspired by an actual event. In 1931, director Robert J. Flaherty went to the Aran Islands (made up of Inishmaan, Inishmore, and Inisheer) and spent two years working on a documentary depicting the hardscrabble existence of those who live on what he described as “three naked wastes of rock off the western coast of Ireland.” Released in 1934, Man of Aran received critical acclaim and is still highly regarded, although it is now more accurately described as a docudrama, as Flaherty took considerable artistic license in capturing the islanders’ way of life.
Like Flaherty, McDonagh is also concerned with how such an unforgiving, isolated environment affects its inhabitants. But he is equally interested in the great Irish tradition of storytelling, and the play is particularly notable for its vibrant, rhythmic language; its vivid, eccentric characters; and its black humor.  

PBD’s production is directed by J. Barry Lewis and features Elizabeth Dimon as Eileen Osbourne, Laura Turnbull as Kate Osbourne, Colin McPhillamy as Johnnypateenmike O’Dougal, Adam Petherbridge (PBD debut) as Billy Claven, Wesley Slade (PBD debut) as Bartley McCormick, Adelind Horan (PBD debut) as Helen McCormick, Jim Ballard as Babbybobby Bennett, Dennis Creaghan as Doctor McSharry, and Harriet Oser as Mammy O’Dougal. Scenic design is by Victor Becker, costume design is by Franne Lee (PBD debut), lighting design is by Paul Black, and sound design is by Steve Shapiro.  

The Cripple of Inishmaan is the first play in the Aran Islands triology, which also includes The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the unproduced The Banshees of Inisheer (which McDonagh has said “isn’t as good as the others”). The Cripple of Inishmaan premiered in London at the National Theatre in 1996, and was staged in New York for the first time at the Public Theater in 1998. Ten years later, it was again produced Off-Broadway, this time by the Atlantic Theater Company. Daniel Radcliffe starred in a 2013 West End production that transferred to Broadway in 2014. 

Michael McDonagh, born to Irish parents in London in 1970, is one of the most celebrated playwrights of his generation. He achieved great success with his first play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, part of a trilogy that includes A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West. (PBD staged Beauty Queen in 2011.) Next came the Aran Islands trilogy. Other plays include The Pillowman, A Beheading in Spokane, and Hangmen. McDonagh has received two Olivier Awards and four Tony Award nominations. In recent years, he has devoted much of his time to film as both a writer and director. His best known movie is In Bruges (2008), which starred Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes.    
Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

The performance schedule of The Cripple of Inishmaan is as follows: Evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8PM, and Sundays at 7PM. Matinee performances are on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM. Post-performance discussions follow Wednesday matinee and Sunday evening performances. Individual tickets are $66, with specially priced preview tickets at $46 and Opening Night tickets at $81. Student tickets are available for $10; tickets for educators are half price with proper ID (other restrictions apply). Group rates for 20 or more and discounted season subscriptions are also available.
The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit .  
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Elizabeth Dimon
Laura Turnbull
Colin McPhillamy
Adam Petherbridge
Wesley Slade
Adelind Horan
Jim Ballard
Dennis Creaghan
Harriet Oser