Staples as Rosemary talks with Carrie Hitchcock
as Aoife while
James Pickering as Tony looks on in 'Outside
MILWAUKEE - There
is some danger in stereotyping, but there is also some
truth in these generalizations usually based on
ethnicity, religion, economic status or career.
Having seen two
Irish plays in one week - both wonderful - I noticed
there are certain elements often present in Irish
literature - sentiment, melancholy, humor, simplicity,
poignancy and a firm connection to tradition and the
is a touching story that takes place over a span of six
years. The set that was so fittingly created by Rick
Rasmussen reflects a father-son family who are just
making ends meet, with the unappreciated son, Anthony,
doing most of the demanding farm work and the father,
Tony, doing most of the complaining. The home is simple
and messy and devoid of any artistic touches, almost
The atmosphere is
tense and contentious. Enter a chatty neighbor, Aoife,
who struggles to get around but is friendly and a sort
of respite for Tony who has too little to fill his days
but to bring up old grudges about the late husband of
Aoife and about the Kelly clan, his deceased wife's side
of the family, whom his son Anthony unfortunately
physically favors, a fact that Tony unfairly resents.
daughter Rosemary is the fourth member of the ensemble.
When we first meet her, she immediately gives off a vibe
of 'don't mess with me.' Anthony, who is shy and
soft-spoken, is somewhat intimated by her confidence and
bold manner. They have known each since childhood, but
apparently never made a good connection.
As both Aiofe and
Tony discuss their limited time left on this earth,
Aiofe mentions that she is leaving her farm to her
daughter Rosemary, and Tony surprisingly reveals that he
is thinking of willing his to a nephew who lives in
America, rather than to his own son.
Upon hearing this
disturbing news from her mother, Rosemary confronts Tony
about this outrage. He is somewhat intimidated by her,
and even though he doesn't concede to her, it does get
The four actors
creating these very interesting characters are some of
the best in the rich pool of performers in our local
scene. James Pickering (Tony), David Cecsarini
(Anthony), Carrie Hitchcock (Aoife), and Deborah Staples
(Rosemary) all fully embrace their roles and help us
understand and empathize with the personalities and
individual dilemmas of each character.
Some of the best
scenes in the story are the last interaction between
Tony and his son and the final scene in the play when
Rosemary confronts Anthony as he wanders about his land
with some sort of metal detector looking for some lost
treasure. In a wonderful bit of irony, we discover
eventually what he was really looking for.
Her power and his
resistance play well against each other in this final
confrontation. Who will win out?
The poetic script
by John Patrick Shanley provides a great vehicle for the
story-telling ability of these four actors. Thank God he
forsook his usual emphasis on the Italians he grew up
with in the Bronx (which inspired his screenplay for the
award-winning 'Moonstruck') and focused on his own Irish
He certainly has
a gift for it, and director Edward Morgan captured the
poignant beauty of his work.
The drama runs through Oct. 21 at
the Next Act Theatre at 255 S. Water St., Milwaukee.
Call 414-078-0765 or visit