There were 70 of us gathered Thursday night (just rows from mother/daughter duo Chelsea and Hillary) for three hours to remember why it is we go to the theater. If you happen to be on the hunt for some reasons why one should go to see live theater, you can find about 3,000 of them on stage now at The Ferryman….
The reasons come in the guise of 10 wee little toes and 10 wee little fingers. They are in the appearances by the furry and feathered set in the form of a bunny as a gift and a mud-splattered goose. They are on the shining faces of the hopeful, but wise beyond their years’ (with the vocab to prove it) children. They come in the shape of a hulking Englishman who collects rainbows, shoulders a coat with magical inside pockets, and can recite poetry on command. And they reside in the boozy and philosophical Uncle Pat and the acerbic and fierce, but wickedly appealing Aunt Pat.
The reasons appear in an impromptu Irish dance scene that abruptly transitions to an 80’s rave. They are in the abundantly messy but completely endearing consternations of a big family thrust to live their lives together, but also heartbreakingly apart in close, crowded and noisy quarters.
The reasons also exist in the form of heartache and heartbreak. They are in the hearts that never get mended, the hearts that never get opened, and the hearts that are tortured and unrequited. And they exist in the tapestry of the story that weaves in religion and politics, not for the sake of the story, but because it is the story of the character’s lives.
The reasons are in the massive ensemble so masterfully doing their jobs that the viewer is relegated to the role of a voyeur; as if one is viewing early reality tv circa 1984 during the troubles of Northern Ireland. It is in the reminder that brushing up on the history of Northern Ireland would probably be time well spent. And it is in the end when you feel the closest to these characters and they upend you with their final act, leaving you astonished and spent in your theater seat.
Thank you to all involved with The Ferryman for creating this show. Those of us who have been lucky enough to view the performance are better for the experience. I urge everyone, I implore you, even beg you to Grab Your Group and GO too!