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Next: The Lieutenant of Inishmore

We’re a week deep into rehearsals for our next show, The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

I’m torn on what to tell people and what I want them to experience for themselves in the theater. There are an insane amount of special effects in this show, and in a lot of ways I think that’s the hook. The plot itself is relatively simple: psychopath Irish terrorist loves his cat more than anything, comes home to find his cat dead, extreme violence and pitch black comedy ensue.

This play is by the same writer who delighted Jobsite audiences with The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Pillowman. If you saw either (or both) of those shows, you have some insight into the dark humor McDonagh injects into his plays. He also won an Oscar for his short film Six Shooter and was just recently nominated for another Oscar for his film In Bruges.

I’m beginning to think that I could actually give away most of the “secrets” of the show in an effort to excite an audience, and still have them feel like they need to see it in order to see for themselves how we’ll actually pull it off. Sometimes I’m thinking the same thing …

On the surface, this show is a technical NIGHTMARE. An intermission exists in the relatively short play essentially for no other reason than to prep the stage for the final scene. We have roughly 4 gallons of blood to mix nightly of various textures and consistencies. We have six stage weapons that will expend roughly 60 or so blank rounds. We have multiple prop cats for different points in the show that each have their own inherent “special” effect. We have an absurd on-stage body count. Oh, and a pink bicycle.

Honestly speaking, this is show is a major spectacle. It’s the most technically demanding, technically complex AND expensive show we’ve ever tried to do. There were members of the board who said we were insane to even try it.

Maybe I am. A little.

Ami Corley told me back when we did Titus Andronicus that sometimes we have to go to the place that scares us. Titus for sure scared me at the time. Huge cast, Shakespeare, not his best play. I was bound and determined to edit and pare it down to an essence and make a solid production that people would want to see and I’d say I largely succeeded with that.

This show scares me 10x as much as Titus did. It seems unreal at times that it’s even happening. I keep having to remind myself that it is. It’s getting more clear now that we’re rehearsing and talking in meetings about all these details, and I do mean ALL THESE DETAILS.

Put it this way – we anticipate an hour of setup every night before the show and at least an hour and a half of cleanup afterwards – and the show itself is only an hour and a half.

I am insane for wanting to do this. I am aware of that.

But, if I pull it off it’s going to be genius. It’s either going to be win big or fail big. I don’t think there can be any in between on this one. And as scary as that is, it’s a little exciting. Maybe it’s the thrill-seeker in me. I enjoy adversity sometimes, I revel in being the underdog. The challenge always makes the whole thing more satisfying.

So we’ll see.

In the meantime, I can promise you something unlike you have EVER seen from Jobsite, and something I can’t think of that’s even been close from another Bay area theater in my decade and a half experience with the area. I promise you 1,000% effort. I promise you a good time. I promise you’ll laugh till it hurts, be profoundly moved and quite possibly want to lose your lunch – all in the same scene.

I also promise you that this show is going to be LOUD. If you thought Embedded was too loud, skip this one. I promise you it will be absurdly, epically violent. If you found the staged violence in The Pillowman to be too much, skip this one. Just about everything about this show – the premise, the opening picture, the execution of it and the executions themselves – is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended.

I can’t be any more plain about all that. We’re not trying to hide any of this from anyone.

If the former few paragraphs got you even a little excited, all I ask of you is one favor – make a plan to see the show and get your tickets as far in advance as you can. One, we’re bound to sell out, and two – if we can get these sales solid enough far enough in advance we can add our fourth weekend of shows. This is critical for this show in particular since this show is so bloody expensive. Honestly, it’s the most expensive thing we’ve tried to do. We simply MUST HAVE a success here at the box office, or we’re going to lose quite a chunk of change.

Did I mention I get a thrill from a challenge?

It’s a calculated risk though. This is a great piece of theater. It’s non-traditional and cutting edge, to say the very least and I believe it has a lot of smart things to say about violence, terrorism and simple human nature.

And I really hope you see it.

Oh, if you’re looking for bargains and are already a devotee – consider picking up a mini season ticket. We’re offering them right now for 30% off the price of regular tickets if you buy the last three shows in the season. That works out to just $17.15 per show and you also save a lot of money on service charges by paying a one-time fee per order instead of per ticket.

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2 Responses

  1. Will there be a “splash zone” a la Shamu at Sea World? Should I wear my old clothes if I’ll be in the front row?

  2. Dave–

    You might want to talk to my friends at Portland’s Third Rail Repertory Theatre. They’re great folks, produce very fine work, keep winning awards every time they turn around, and they’ve had quite a lot of success producing McDonagh’s plays. Slayden Scott’s the AD there, but the person I probably know best there is Tim True, who’s a fine actor and was in my play “Lost Wavelengths” at Portland Center Stage. (And he’s a really nice guy.) You can find him on my Facebook friends list. In fact, this Sunday, they’re doing “Leenane
    Day” where they’re reading the entire Leenane trilogy in one shot. I’m sure they be happy to talk to you about how they’ve approached the pieces, etc. Tell ’em you know me and I said they’re good people…and should know you because you’re good people.



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