Craig: Chicago Street Theatre’s ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’
By Bob Craig For Sun-Times Media January 29, 2014 3:54PM
Martin McDonagh's "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" will be staged by Chicago Street Theatre from Jan. 31-Feb. 15 in Valparaiso. | AP file photo
Updated: March 3, 2014 2:49PM
Valparaiso’s Chicago Street Theatre brings the work of Irish playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh back to the stage with “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” from Jan. 31-Feb. 15.
Set in the mountains of County Galway in Ireland, the play tells the darkly comic tale of a lonely woman and her manipulative elderly mother whose meddling could spoil her daughter’s first and last chance for a loving relationship.
Directors Traci Brant and Jonni Pera have directed the playwright’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” in 2004 and “The Pillowman” in 2010.
“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” is one we’ve been waiting to do for a few seasons now,” Pera said.
“McDonagh’s work is so meaty that it challenges us both as artists and directors.”
The theater describes “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” as a terrifying and darkly funny story of love, longing and sacrifice and reminds theatergoers that it is intended for mature audiences due to adult themes, language and violence.
The cast includes Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano, Timothy Gleason, Sheri Nash-Braun and Tom O’Neill.
In addition to playing the intensely layered characters of McDonagh’s play, the actors also have worked hard to perfect the rural dialects spoken by people of County Galway.
“McDonagh is sort of like the Sam Shepard of Ireland and the Coen brothers all rolled into one,” Gleason said.
“As a playwright he doesn’t start out with any agenda but to tell a really great story with these incredible characters, the Irish accents and rhythms of the region he writes about are essential to the poetry of his work.”
Chicago Street Theatre is at 154 W. Chicago St., Tickets can be purchased at chicagostreet.org or (219) 464-1636, Ext. 1.
Bob Craig is a local freelance writer.