John Crowley directs the production of JM Synge's 1907 play set in a County Mayo pub at the beginning of the century. The play tells the story of lonely dreamer Christy Mahon (Sheehan) who takes refuge in Michael Flaherty’s pub, claiming that he has killed his oppressive father. He both charms the village women including Widow Quinn (Cusack) and captures the heart of the landlord’s fiery daughter Pegeen (Negga).
The Playboy Of The Western World premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1907, later becoming an Irish classic. The National Theatre's 1975 revival at the Old Vic starred Stephen Rea as Christy, with the play last staged in London in 2001 at the NT Cottesloe.
John Millington Synge was a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre and wrote only six plays before his death at the age of 37. They include In the Shadow of the Glen, Riders to the Sea and The Well of the Saints.
In addition to numerous television credits, including ITV’s Fallen Angel and The Last Detective, Niamh Cusack has been seen on stage in the National Theatre's 2007 production of Victoria Benedictsson's The Enchantment, Women, Power and Politics at the Tricycle, Andersen's English at the Hampstead Theatre, Dancing at Lughnasa at the Old Vic, Crestfall at Theatre503 and, most recently, Painters alongside Toby Jones - the inaugural production at the new Arcola Theatre. Cusack has previously appeared in The Playboy Of The Western World at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
She continues her engagement at the Old Vic, where her current run starring as Edith Davenport opposite Anne Marie Duff in Terence Rattigan’s Cause Celebre draws to a close tomorrow night, 11 June 2011.
Ruth Negga played Ophelia to Rory Kinnear's Hamlet at the National Theatre last year, following her appearance in the National's production of Phedre. Her other stage credits include Oedipus Loves You at Riverside Studios and Duck at the Royal Court, in addition to numerous productions for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Negga also starred as Pegeen Mike in Druid Theatre Company’s Australian tour of The Playboy of the Western World.
Young Irish actor Robert Sheehan makes his professtional stage debut in the play, having previous been seen playing Nathan Young in the E4 young offenders comedy-drama Misfits, a role for which he was BAFTA nominated. His other credits include 2009 feature films Cherrybomb and Season of the Witch with Nicholas Cage as well as RTE television's Love/Hate and the Red Riding Trilogy.
Director John Crowley has recently helmed A Behanding in Spokane starring Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, and A Steady Rain starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman on Broadway.
His London theatre credits include The Pillowman for the National Theatre and its Broadway transfer, On An Average Day in the Comedy Theatre starring Woody Harrelson and Kyle MacLachlan, and Love Song at the New Ambassadors Theatre starring Neve Campbell and Cillian Murphy. Crowley has directed extensively at Dublin’s Gate, Abbey and Peacock Theatres and other theatre credits include the Donmar productions of Tales From Hollywood, Juno and the Paycock and Into The Woods.
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