Wednesday, March 26, 2014

the seafarer | linnet moss post

There's a great post about THE SEAFARER on Linnet Moss' blog. Moss is a fiction writer who hasn't been out to see our production, but delves into the deeper stuff underneath the story of THE SEAFARER. A great read! An excerpt is pasted below, or read the whole thing in its original context here.

Everyone who reads or watches this play feels a certain sympathy for the Devil. And if I could make a little Faustian bargain of my own, I’d go back in time to 2007 and see it with the New York cast. After all, the prospect of being dragged off to “the hole in the wall” by that particular Mephistopheles has its attractions.


The symbolic use of celestial phenomena, the intersection of the cosmic and the spiritual, is a hallmark of Conor McPherson’s work. The winter solstice typically arrives just before Christmas, so that the return of physical light is accompanied by the arrival of the Child who is, in the Christian mythos, the redemptive Light of the World. I wonder if this is part of McPherson’s fascination with the holiday (Dublin Carol and The Seafarer are set on Christmas Eve, while The Night Alive is full of references to the Nativity).

In this play, the light and the dark, Christ and the Devil meet in a struggle for one man’s soul. That man is James “Sharky” Harkin, who lives with his cantankerous older brother Richard in Dublin. Having recently lost his sight, Richard is by turns angry and depressed, and he bullies Sharky as only an older brother can. (I laughed to imagine Jim Norton, a smallish man with a big voice, chiding the towering David Morse, who must be about six foot four). Richard’s main interest in life is drink (a hobby shared by his sidekick Ivan), and the byplay between these two provides much of the comedy in the play.

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