Not every story ends in a happily-ever-after. In “The Lonesome West,” drunken fights mixed with murder charges bring two brothers to their wits end and no one knows what will happen next.
Ad Hoc will open the play Friday, with additional performances Saturday, Dec. 8, 9, 15, and 16, at The Art Studio, Inc.
Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s play is set in the town of Leenane in western Ireland. The dark comedy explores how two brothers cope with their anger, and the death of their father and acquaintances.
“This play focuses on character relationships,” Michael Saar, LU associate professor of library services, who plays one of the brothers, Valene, said. “Ad Hoc is drawn to dark humor. This play is funny, but there is an intensity to it.”
Saar said the play examines compassion in an environment when everyone is looking out for himself.
Michael Mason, who plays Coleman, said he has wanted to do a McDonagh play with Ad Hoc for a while, and said that the show plays to the group’s strengths as performers.
“I’ve always liked McDonagh’s work and I think other people enjoy it as well,” he said. “We like to explore dark humor where terrible things are funny, and it’s nice to perform a show that is a little closer to life than maybe a musical would be.”
Brothers Coleman and Valene constantly argue with each other, and are jobless and lost in their own worlds. Saar said that portraying someone quite different from himself is a challenge.
“I looked at what my character was trying to achieve,” he said. “This is the third play in the Connemara trilogy, so there’s a lot of information about who these characters are and how they are viewed by the rest of their community, which is definitely helpful when trying to develop a character.”
Mason said that the play will appeal to a younger audience and that the performance is unlike most shows one would see in Beaumont.
Saar said that Lamar students will enjoy the play, given that the theater department has done a few of McDonagh’s plays in the past.
“Lamar presented the first play in this trilogy (“The Beauty Queen of Leenane”),” he said. “These plays do not present a pleasant portrait of humanity — they really look at the people on the outskirts. There’s no typical leading man or woman, which I think students can relate to.”
Since the play is set in rural Ireland, the cast members had to develop accents and different speaking pattern, which Mason said was difficult, but rewarding.
“The lines in this play were hard for me to memorize,” he said. “The syntax and rhythm order are very different than what I’m used to, but listening to Irish dialects helped me find that rhythm which helped the lines roll out of my mouth smoother.”
McDonagh also wrote the movie “In Bruge” and is currently tipped for an Oscar nomination for writing “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Tickets are $15.
For more information, contact Ad Hoc on their Facebook page. The Art Studio is located at 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont.
Story by Olivia Malick, UP staff writer