Port Authority. DR2 Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Conor McPherson. Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly. With Billy Carter, Peter Maloney and James Russell. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.
Port Authority: In brief
While the Irish Rep's Chelsea home gets renovated, the company moves into the DR2 with a revival of Conor McPherson's poignant 2001 play about Irish men, structured as monologues for three Dubliners of different ages. Billy Carter, Peter Maloney and James Russell star in Ciarán O'Reilly's production.
Port Authority: Theater review by Helen Shaw
Conor McPherson’s gorgeous 2001 triple monologue Port Authority has an affinity with the sea—you watch it tidally, patiently, waiting for chaos to resolve into sense. Technically, the piece is undramatic: Its storytellers never interact, even though events graze one another as they unwind. It feels like taking a walk or sitting at a bar—it doesn’t really feel like going to a play.
Three men tell us stories. Young (James Russell), middle-aged (Billy Carter) and old (national treasure Peter Maloney), they share their tales of frustrations and inertia. Russell loves a housemate but daren’t tell her; Carter finds himself in a job he isn’t even half suited for; Maloney is in a nursing home, hiding his ancient secrets from sympathetic nuns. Each man gets to do a marvelous drunk act, and then each cracks his heart open. It may not sound fun, but it is.
Designer Charlie Corcoran nestles three benches against a stone wall, behind which we catch a beautiful slice of sky. Ciarán O’Reilly’s production is graceful and meticulous; between this and last season’s The Weir, the Irish Rep has become the best place to see McPherson’s work. “I went past her brown shoulder,” says Maloney, in a simple line I shouldn’t remember. But then, the whole play is about memories you’d be happier without. Seems only fair that it create some of its own.—Theater review by Helen Shaw
THE BOTTOM LINE The Irish Rep revives McPherson’s moody trialogue just beautifully.