Playhouse Looks to Ireland in ‘Outside Mullingar’
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Playhouse’s production of “Outside Mullingar” arrives as another story of rural Ireland – “The Banshees of Inisherin” – is vying for the top award at the Oscars.
That is fortuitous timing, especially with St. Patrick’s Day around the corner. But the truth is, the charm of the Emerald Isle is always in season.
“Mullingar,” which opens Friday in the Moyer Room, is a romantic comedy about Anthony and Mary, a pair of introverted middle-age neighbors. When Anthony’s father threatens to leave his farm to his American cousins, Rosemary jumps into the middle of the feud and gets caught up in a web of family eccentricities.
The play written by John Patrick Shanley (“Doubt,” “Moonstruck,” “Joe Versus the Volcano”) is being directed by Christopher Fidram.
He describes it as “a love letter” to the spirits of our past and the family bonds that guide and strengthen us. “I hope it serves as a reminder that it’s never too late to make new beginnings,” Fidram said.
The veteran cast includes Chuck Kettering (Anthony), Joanna Andrei (Rosemary), Molly Galano and Samuel Perry.
The set was designed by Johnny Pecano. Ellen Licitra is in charge of lighting, and Bruce Taylor is stage manager.
Fidram said the characters in “Mullingar” are what spoke to him the most.
“I always try to find plays with rich, dimensional characters for women and also for actors of a certain age,” he said. “When I learned that the younger characters were middle-aged, I decided to give it a read right away. I loved it immediately.”
Each character is alive and vibrant, resilient and strong-willed, Fidram said.
“We all know people like the characters in ‘Outside Mullingar,’ who feel so much affection inside but are afraid to express it to those whom they care most about,” he said. “It shows us that it’s never too late to change paths and let others know how we really feel.”
While the humor and culture in “Mullingar” are distinctly Irish, the director said anyone can find parts of their own life within the story.
“It’s an ideal play to bring parents and grandparents to see,” Fidram said. “Or bring a date, because there’s plenty of romance to discover in this Irish countryside.”
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24-25 and March 3-4; and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 5.
Tickets are $17 (plus fees) and are available at the DeYor Performing Arts Center box office, downtown; by phone at 330 788 8739; and at youngstownplayhouse.org.
Pictured at top: Joanna Andrei and Chuck Kettering in a scene from “Outside Mullingar.”
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.