Directed by Tom Szalay
Run Dates (only at Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver)
Cast and Characters
Jeff Smith returns to the SOAP stage as 42 year-old farmer ANTHONY REILLY. A shy, poetic and somewhat eccentric Irishman, Anthony has ambitions beyond farming but is deeply conflicted when his father plans to leave the farm to a nephew. Anthony's inhibitions hide deep longings and an inability to conceive of his neighbour, Rosemary's affection for him. Our fans will recognize Jeff from his portrayal of Mike in SOAP Theatre's award winning production of Since You Left Us in early 2017.
Jennifer MacNeil plays ROSEMARY MULDOON, a 36-year-old, strong-backed, strong-willed Irish girl who grew up on the farm and knows well the rigors of daily manual work. Although "half of Mullingar has been to her door," Rosemary has saved her heart and been waiting patiently for her neighbour Anthony to come by all her life. This will be Jennifer's first appearance on the SOAP stage. Most recently, she was Assistant Director and Stage Manager for Since You Left Us in early 2017.
Jim Peltier makes his SOAP Theatre debut as TONY REILLY, Anthony's droll, resentful, stubborn and crusty father. Sharp tongued and ornery, Tony feels no sentimentality...if he’s miserable, everyone is going to be miserable. Jim in no stranger to the stage, bringing his experience from the North Peace theatre company in Fort Saint John to the South Okanagan.
Margi Chantler returns to the stage in her first SOAP performance, playing AOIFE MULDOON, Rosemary's aging mother. Like Tony, there’s not a sentimental bone in her body, but she wants a good future for her daughter, which includes Anthony. Aoife, ill herself, grieves for her late husband deeply, but only allows the emotion to last a moment before she has recovered her stonier facade. Though new to SOAP, Margi is no stranger the stage, having performed in plays and musicals in college and with Soundstage Productions in Penticton.
John Patrick Shanley
John Patrick Shanley was born on October 3, 1950 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA. He is a writer, best known for Doubt 008), Moonstruck (1987) and Alive (1993).
His play "Doubt" (about a molestation charge in a Catholic school) has won several awards for outstanding dramatic play including: the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the 2004-2005 Drama Desk Award and the 2005 Tony Award.
Mr. Shanley is the successful playwright of such works as "Savage In Limbo" and "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea". Whenever possible, he directs his plays as well.
After he was thrown out of Catholic school in New York, he attended the private Thomas Moore Prep School in Harrisville, New Hampshire. He then returned to New York and attended New York University, left to enlist in the military and then returned to finish university on the G.I. Bill. He graduated in 1977 as valedictorian.
He was the 2009 Commencement Speaker at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York.
Mr Shanley directed four Oscar-nominated performances: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis, all of them for their work in Doubt (2008). His play, "Psychopathia Sexualis" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1996 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Production. He was awarded the 1996 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Writing for "Psychopathia Sexualis" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
"I always knew I'd have to come home eventually. I'm Irish as hell: Kelly on one side, Shanley on the other. My father had been born on a farm in the Irish Midlands. He and his brothers had been shepherds there, cattle and sheep, back in the early 1920s. I grew up surrounded by brogues and Irish music, but stayed away from the old country till I was over 40. I just couldn't own being Irish."
Years later, "I had turned 60, and the knife at my throat woke me to the beauty of my own people, the fleeting opportunities of life, the farce of caution. I wanted to write a love story. I wanted to find all the words I had not been able to find because what I have been unable to express has caused me anguish, even as what I have given adequate voice has lent me peace. I found a strange relief in the play. I called it 'Outside Mullingar,' a prosaic title perhaps to balance the poetry it contained. The script was a refuge and a consolation for me." *
* View the full New York Times article: John Patrick Shanley, on His Irishness and ‘Outside Mullingar’
Abridged May 2017 review by Vancouver-based Jerry Wasserman
Outside Mullingar is deliciously funny; a twisted comedy about death and love that flirts with — and sometimes embraces — Irish cliches galore.
The play is set on the side-by-side farms of the Rileys and Muldoons. Anthony Riley lives with his widowed father Tony, and Rosemary Muldoon with her recently-widowed mother Aoife [ee'-fa].
The opening scene, on the day of Chris Muldoon’s funeral, offers gallows humour in the gift-for-gab style for which the Irish are famous. Describing how a premature baby seemed to get even smaller before he died, Tony tells Anthony, “He shrunk like a sock in the wash.”
There will be more deaths before long, arguments about inheritance (Tony threatens not to leave his farm to Anthony but sell it instead to his brother’s son, who looks more like a farmer: “He has hands like feet”) and a long-simmering property dispute between the Rileys and Muldoons that provides a productive running gag.
The second act love story belongs to Rosemary and Anthony, now living alone on their neighbouring farms. She’s thirty-something, he’s in his forties. Both are single, adrift (“Seize the day? Seize it and do what, though?”), depressed (“Thinking’s worse than February”). The mystery is why they haven’t gotten together.
Rosemary calls him “a bit of a lump” and scolds him for his lack of spunk and spark, but it’s obvious she cares for him. And what’s up with Anthony? She’s beautiful, available and right next door, but he seems uninterested.
The gloriously funny catechism with which she finally demands answers from him leads to a revelation so bizarre it’s almost a miracle that Shanley manages to make it both howlingly comic and beautifully moving.
Listen to the horror-struck, awe-struck Anthony when Rosemary comes on to him: “You’ve been chaste as a dove all your life and now you’re going on like a pirate!” The script reveals Rosemary’s lovelorn vulnerability with her aggressive strength. You really want these two to get together.
Shanley infuses the play with spirituality. Rosemary hates the bible (“They should call it The Book of Awful Stories”) but in this Irish countryside characters hear voices, see “signs from heaven” and are “touched by the quiet hand of God.” Mullingar seems just the place for these quiet comic miracles.