THE CAST: Scott Ferrara, Lynn Milgrim, Richard Doyle and Devon Sorvari.
John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar (March 8-29, 2020, Julianne Argyros Stage) is an Irish comedy told with rich language and a few surprises, just the type of story that Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson loves and he’s directing this delightful play. His stellar cast includes longtime SCR favorites, a newer SCR alumna and one making his SCR debut. We caught up with the actors during rehearsals to talk with them about the play’s story, learning to speak with an Irish accent and more.
I portray Tony Reilly. He’s a midlands Ireland farmer who’s the patriarch of a 120-year-old cattle and sheep farm. His much-loved wife passed on years ago and Tony has reached an age where he has become concerned about whether his son, Anthony (who has some strange ideas and seems unwilling to marry), will ever have a family to carry on the Reilly farm tradition.
My SCR credits include A Christmas Carol (for 36 years), Kings, Rest, The Weir, The Beard of Avon, The Tavern and The Crucible.
My other credits include “Cheers,” “M*A*S*H,” Air Force One and Mass Appeal.
I’m drawn to Outside Mullingar because I have always loved Irish plays—their lyricism, folktales, music and poetry. The pure gentle nature of the comedy and romance in these plays, and their humanism, is so engaging and our Outside Mullingar will be no exception. A generational dispute about how life should be lived is often at the heart of Irish theatre.
Why this play means so much to me now was prompted by being asked to work with my dear friend and SCR Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson. Over the past 55-plus years, he and I have teamed up on dozens of projects and this was one I could not resist.
Ah, the Irish accent! The object is be understood. There are some wonderful comic moments and dialogue exchanges in the play that are made even richer with the accent and we are certain our audiences will enjoy these; as they travel with us to Killucan in the Midlands. We want to help our audiences appreciate that these characters without calling undo attention to accented speech or dialect, all while not getting in the way of the text or story.
My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is a pint of Guinness and a "small one" (that’s a generous shot of Irish whiskey), then an Uber ride home to avoid the garda (Irish police). Sláinte! (to your health!).
I portray Anthony Reilly. He’s a man who has stayed on the family farm for 42 years and committed his entire life to the land, working by himself from morning to night. He lives with his father, Tony, and has never married—actually never even dated after his teenage years. Anthony’s heart feels deeply, but he lacks the desire to connect with people. He is happiest out in nature—wandering by himself because it is the only place that he feels free and full of joy. When he is reacquainted with the daughter of his next-door-neighbor, the new and volatile relationship upends his perception of love and solitude and sends him off on a path he has never taken before.
This is my SCR debut!
My other credits include Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (Lincoln Center Theater), The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Julius Caesar, The Pillowman, Hamlet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Romeo and Juliet, “Modern Family,” “24” and The Brink.
I’m really drawn to Outside Mullingar. In fact, the first time I read this play before the audition, I cried—there was hope at the end of the story. Even after all of the twists and turns, we get to celebrate two people finding their unique connection. I think it is essential to share art that celebrates this, especially now.
Yes, there are challenges to speaking with an Irish dialect—it needs to sound and feel like it’s your own. Finding a way that merges the technical sounds with play and freedom is crucial for a dialect to be successful.
My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is a Shamrock Shake!
I portray Aoife Muldoon. She is ‘of the earth’—a farm woman, who is stricken with emphysema. This brings several physical challenges for me in this role, with a character who is dealing with age and infirmity.
My SCR credits include A Doll’s House, Part 2; Rest; Death of a Salesman; Pygmalion; The Caucasian Chalk Circle; The Heiress; and The Trip to Bountiful.
My other credits include Otherwise Engaged, Bedroom Farce and Charley’s Aunt (all on Broadway); Brighton Beach Memoirs (international tour); Crimes of Passion, Museum, Echoes, Win/Lose/Draw (off-Broadway); regionally in The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Harvey, Treasure Hunt and Arsenic and Old Lace; and on TV in “Chicago Med” and “The Fosters.”
I’m drawn to Outside Mullingar by the wonderful, complex characters that [playwright John Patrick] Shanley has written. And the holding of grudges for years and years and years is something I can relate to (unfortunately)!
Yes, there are challenges to speaking with an Irish accent—you have to be specific and not generalize by speaking with an ‘Irish lilt.’
My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is champagne (it’s my birthday)!
I portray Rosemary Muldoon and she's fabulous. Passionate, forthright, steadfast, tough as nails, and yet guided by love and faith. This is a dream role. I'm hoping she rubs off a bit on me.
My SCR credits include The Siegel (I was the surprise 'plot twist' character at the end!).
My other credits include the first national tour of The Graduate, Ah! Wilderness (Lincoln Center Theater), The School for Scandal, Inherit the Wind, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Imaginary Invalid, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Uncle Vanya, The Crucible, “The Mentalist,” “ER,” “The Gilmore Girls,” He’s Watching and Hellraiser: Revelations.
I’m drawn to Outside Mullingar because I'm a sucker for a good, rainy Irish play! But, really, [playwright John Patrick] Shanley's language is so gorgeous—alternately soul-piercing and hilarious. I love the complicated parent-child dynamics and the poignancy of people finding their way to each other, maybe even despite their best attempts.
Yes, there are challenges to speaking with an Irish accent—not letting IT use YOU! I have to work very technically in the beginning and really over-focus on the sound changes so that (hopefully) I can completely forget about it and just say what Rosemary needs to say...how she happens to say it. By the time we get to performances, if I'm still thinking about the accent, I won't be doing my real job.
My favorite St. Patrick’s Day drink is, well, hmmmm. I’m not much of beer fan. How about the just-invented (by me!) Mullingar Martini—your choice of gin or vodka…with a sprig of Rosemary!
Learn more about Outside Mullingar and buy tickets.