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Wednesday, November 11,2009

Return to port

’Seafarer’ examines search for land legs in sea of regret

by Chris Parks
A life at sea can be a lonely one. But for some, casting aside the storms and waves and returning to dry land can be the real challenge.

That disconnect amid a life’s regrets is at the center of Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.’s latest production, Conor McPherson’s “The Seafarer,” and a concept director Chad Badgero feels can speak to anyone. “I love the [theme] of this play, that being the concept of feeling you’ve made so many mistakes you can’t ever turn back and be better,” Badgero said. “I think the play ultimately says we can be better. It’s a message I really believe in.”


Born of the Old English poem of the same name, Badgero said “The Seafarer” is about redemption just as much as it is disillusionment. While people can be mired in low places, like main protagonist Sharkey is as the play begins, there are always chances for them to pick themselves up. “It’s very much about letting people love you, whether it be friends or family,” Badgero said.



The drama, set in a Dublin on Christmas Eve, tells the tale of Sharkey, who returns home from the sea to take care of his aging brother who is critical of Sharkey and the decisions he has made in life. Their long-time drinking buddies also show up for spirits and card games, as the play intertwines family dynamics, regret and the lore and mysticism of Ireland and the sea.


As the group passes time late into the night, a mysterious stranger is added to the mix. “Through a series of events, you find out who this gentleman is,” Badgero said. “He’s there to cash in on a promise Sharkey made to him 25 years before, so the stakes of the card game are more than just money.”


The play has been performed on Broadway, nominated for a Tony Award and received acclaim in the U.K. Badgero is proud to add the Peppermint Creek touch to the work. “I’m thrilled we’re able to present it as the mid-Michigan premiere,” Badgero said.


‘The Seafarer’


By
Conor McPherson Through Nov. 21 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday 2 p.m.
Sunday Creole Gallery, 1218 Turner St., Lansing $15/$10 (517) 927-3016
www.peppermintcreek.org


Art vs. entertainment


Icarus Falling Theatre Ensemble will open its 2009-‘10 season this week with “Speed The Plow.” Written by David Mamet and directed by Jeff Croff, the play takes a darkly comedic look at Hollywood producers struggling with whether to push another mind numbing blockbuster or gamble on a movie that promotes artistic values but may flop commercially.


Croff said the play asks if it is possible to be profitable while artistic, or whether our culture predicates sacrificing creativity in pursuit of wealth. “There’s a certain serendipity in that question,” he said.


While Croff doesn’t feel the play preaches any particular lesson, he does believe great theater facilitates discussion. “It creates the springboard for late-night rants or diatribes over coffee or a beer,” he said.


“Speed The Plow,” by David Memet.


8 p.m. Friday & Saturday through Nov. 20. 1210 Turner St., Lansing. $10, $ for IF “virgins.” (517) 898-1679, www.icarusfalling.com.


What’ll it be?


Lansing Civic Players aims to put the audience at the center of the action with its LCP Underground production of “Opposites Attract.” Co-director Kerry Waters said the basement of the Civic Players’ Michigan Avenue firehouse building has been transformed to look like a bar. “The action of the show will be taking place among the audience, with actors interacting with them,” she said.


For example, one of the characters in the show is a bartender, who will sell soda and water during the performance.


Waters said the comedy, written by Bruce Kane, depicts modern relationships and their tendencies toward calamity. “It takes a look at relationships and skews them just a bit,” she said.


“Opposites Attract.” 8 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 22. $10, $15 for opening night with reception. LCP Underground 2300, E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. (517) 484-9191, www.lansingcivicplayers.org.

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