Friday, December 19, 2008

Play of the Week: The Seafarer

Colin McPherson once wrote that the essence of Irish drama is the characters coming together so that the don't have to be alone. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his story The Seafarer.

Sharky comes home down on his luck having lost his job. He is now staying with his blind brother and having to face the ghosts of his past in his home town. The plot accelerates with the arrival of a stranger on Christmas Eve. The stranger begins to talk of past evens that Sharky has tried long to forget - things that no other living soul knows about. The stranger turns out to be the devil who has come for Sharky soul promised many Christmases ago.

But as we get deeper into the play, the devil's own story starts to unfold more and more. His evil deeds and hatred stem from his being cast out from God's presence into hell. This echos some very modern theological ideas that Hell is the absence of God and a very cold place rather than burning and consuming flames. With this in mind, the play soon shifts to the devil's tragedy and by the end he becomes an object of pity.

I don't want to spoil the ending, but there is redemption fueled by the power of Christmas.

Happy Birthday: Manuel Breton de los Herreros (1796-1873), Sir Ralph Richardson (1902-1983), & Tankred Dorst (b. 1925)

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