note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark
Offstage Theater is interested in "site-specific theatre" and playwright Aidan Parkinson is Irish, so his Cool Root company has been performing in Irish pubs around Boston. (He's moving on to plays to be performed in museums next.) He likes his pubs rowdy --- as uninhibitedly responsive to the world as the characters in his plays.
His first site-specific play "Wrestlin' " has a revival in this pub-crawl. Lisa McColgan and Nicole Jesson play a pair of rowdy working-class sisters, one the stay-at-home care-giver for their invalid mother, the other involved with a bloke not interested in matrimony. They share a pair of hot whiskeys, reminiscences, recriminations, and their spontaneous --- and rowdy --- reactions to the wrestlin' on 'telly. Mere cheering for favorites comes perilously close to identifying with them as their lives intrude on their pleasures and Old Mam' squawks in through an intercom box.
Parkinson's "Anything But Dogs" is a romp featuring two disgruntled poets (Aren't all Irishmen both?) arguing the logical necessity for them to rob a group of hiking tourists on the splendid Irish mountainside rather than submit to degrading slavery as chicken-butchers for mere subsistence. The whole fairly coruscates with quotes and rhymes and breackneck switches in bravado and cowardice, though director John Quinn has imposed little but fast pace on what turns out as a hilarious staged-reading.
The idea of plays that can be done elsewhere than in theatres because they are Where they are is a fascinating idea. I can't wait to see what happens to the MFA and the Gardiner and the Fogg once Aidan Parkinson gets through their doors!