"The Seafarer" Comes to The Schoolhouse Stage March 13

Actor Keith Barber is cast as Sharkey, who gambles for his soul in "The Seafarer," a dark comedy opening March 13 at The Schoolhouse Theater. Call 914-277-8477.
Actor Keith Barber is cast as Sharkey, who gambles for his soul in "The Seafarer," a dark comedy opening March 13 at The Schoolhouse Theater. Call 914-277-8477.

The Schoolhouse Theater will present the Tony-nominated play, The Seafarer, written by the award-winning, Irish playwright Conor McPherson, March 13 through April 6, 2014. The production will be directed by Schoolhouse artistic director, Pamela Moller Kareman, who also directed Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa for a run that was extended by popular demand in 2011.

To welcome The Schoolhouse's new executive director James Shearwood, there will be a reception from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, before the 8 pm opening night performance on Thursday, March 13, that is open to all.

Although it takes its name from an eighth-century poem, The Seafarer is a modern-day story that takes place on Christmas Eve in a coastal town north of Dublin. McPherson's sparkling dialogue and brilliant creation of four raffish hard drinking Irishmen enters Faustian territory when a mystery guest arrives to play poker for the highest possible stakes. The Seafarer explores the fact that although we may live in a rational age, our fear of the unknown is very much alive and well.

Unlikely as it sounds, The Seafarer has been called "a gift of hope to the audience" by the Celtic Cafe and "the pick-me-up play of the season" by The New York Times, giving equal meaning to both words in the phrase "dark comedy."

The Seafarer earned rave reviews in 2007 when it was produced on Broadway with Conor McPherson directing. Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote "McPherson is quite possibly the finest playwright of his generation." The Observer described the play as "succinct, startling and eerie, and the funniest McPherson play to date," while the Hollywood Reporter hailed it as "a timeless classic."

The Seafarer was followed last fall in New York by The Atlantic Theater Company's production of McPherson's The Night Alive, which was called "extraordinary" by The New York Times. Other works by McPherson include The Weir, Port Authority, Dublin Carol and Shining City, which was nominated for two Tony Awards. McPherson often deals with the supernatural with writing that is rich, vivid and very funny.

Kareman has put together a terrific team of Schoolhouse veteran actors, including Keith Barber, star of last season's Ten Unknowns, who will portray the former fisherman and lost soul, Sharkey. Sharkey's older brother, Richard, will be played by John Tyrrell, who has appeared at The Schoolhouse in Dancing at Lughnasa, The Crucible, The Imaginary Invalid, and on Broadway in Equus, The Merchant and The Miser. The brothers' drinking buddy, Ivan, will be portrayed by Gary Kingston, a senior faculty member of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in NYC. Jeff LeBeau will be making his debut at The Schoolhouse as Nicky. He hails from Los Angeles where he has had roles on the television shows "Summerland" and "The Practice." Rich Orlow, who starred in Days o f Wine and Roses at The Schoolhouse, rounds out the cast as the poker-playing and mysterious uninvited guest, Mr. Lockhart.

Over the years, The Schoolhouse Theater has earned a reputation as the go-to theater in Westchester, where audiences can see Broadway quality productions at a fraction of the cost. The Schoolhouse is a regional Equity theater, dedicated to presenting professional productions by award-winning playwrights and supporting and promoting all the arts.

Individual tickets are $35 on Thursday and Friday and $37 on Saturday evening and Sunday matinee. Student tickets are available for $20. They can be purchased online at www.schoolhousetheater.org or by calling the box office at 914-277-8477. The Schoolhouse is located at 3 Owens Road, Croton Falls, NY, just off exit 8 on I-684, and can be "Liked" on Facebook.

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