Pacific Theatre’s The Seafarer begins on the morning after a long night of cards and drinking between four friends in Baldoyle, Ireland, a coastal city north of Dublin. Sharky, Richard, and Ivan (John Emmet Tracy, Ron Reed, and Tim Dixon respectively) are rattling off to one another over their bodily pain and hangovers on this Christmas Eve morning.
Sharky looks after his older, blind brother Richard, who yells out in a thick Irish accent (at times hard to discern) for his cane and more hits of booze. A bit later on, Nicky (Andrew McNee) enters the scene, having been away briefly on a job in County Clare.
The audience is treated to an excellent character build-up of the friends, in preparation for Mr. Lockhart’s (John Innes) arrival. This mysterious man is clean-cut, wearing a grey suit, standing worlds apart from the four casually-dressed lads. Low atmospheric music accompanies the men’s banter, rattling off one tale after another of their past. Richard just wants a proper Irish brekkie and a decent Christmas supper; Sharky does his best with toast, tea, and cereal.
There’s several witty and humorous moments throughout the story. Listen carefully as some of the heavier accents require your attention.
As Richard, Ivan, and Nicky are off stage, presumably seeing to some drunken locals, Mr. Lockhart confronts Sharky in what becomes a haunting scene that will repeat itself later in the story. Without going into too much detail (as this scene is pivotal in intensifying both the story and characters), Mr. Lockhart builds upon the reason for his appearance as the music builds momentum, in a huge performance for the 40-year theater veteran.
All five actors bring remarkable value to the production, playing five completely different characters in this nearly three-hour show (including one intermission).
The second act starts off with a poker game on a stormy Christmas Eve that turns into an emotional fiasco, sending recovering alcoholic Sharky back to the bottle. Richard and Sharky brawl about their past, Nicky tries to buy some time with the guys before he has to finally head home to his wife (at 7 am the next morning!), and Mr. Lockhart definitely gets a big surprise.
The detail-rich set of Sharky and Richard’s home, created by Set Designer Drew Facey, features a lead glass ceiling lamp, crumbling paint on the walls, and a wood-beamed ceiling, lending the perfect atmosphere to the production.
This intense story by Irish playwright Conor McPherson and directed by Anthony F. Ingram is sure to become one of this year’s favorite productions. Grab a coffee and get ready to buckle up for a long night of watching these five men show off their acting chops.
The Seafarer continues at the Pacific Theatre through March 29.
Photos by Emily Cooper.