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Director’s Notes: Evan Frayne on “The Lonesome West”

John Voth and Kenton Klassen. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Before the smashing success of In Bruges, Martin McDonagh hit the London theatre scene and quickly became known as the “Quentin Tarantino of the theatre world”. His plays are visceral, violent and darkly humorous. But in his plays, there is also beauty and human connection. McDonagh wrote almost his entire cannon in less than a year and in 1997 he was the only playwright other than Shakespeare to have four professional productions of his plays run in a single season on the London Stage. His plays challenge ideas and tropes that came to represent the Irish countryside at the time, dashing those ideas to the ground, often through a darkly comic lens.

The Lonesome West is the third play in a trilogy set in Leenane, a Connemara village of Ireland. The title comes from a J.M. Synge play, The Playboy of the Western World. In the play, two brothers— Valene and Coleman—return home from the funeral of their dad, who Coleman accidentally shot in the head with a shotgun. The brothers bicker over crisps and figurines of the saints, which Valene has been collecting to get into heaven. With visits from Girleen, a local girl who sells the brothers her father’s illegal liquor, and Father Welsh, the downtrodden priest who is reeling from two previous murders committed by members of his parish, we watch the brothers slowly begin to discover how to put aside their differences and forgive one another, after years of fighting and petty squabbles.

I couldn’t be more excited to direct this inaugural production for Cave Canem Productions, presented by Pacific Theatre. As a former season apprentice with Pacific Theatre, I’m so glad to be working with four past season apprentices (as well as a wonderful group of artists both familiar and new to Pacific Theatre’s audience) on this darkly comedic play. Be warned—the play is crude, crass and populated with misfits. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll see a glimmer of hope in the end. Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 10.17.41 AM 

The Lonesome West runs October 20–November 11, 2017 at Pacific Theatre. Get your tickets here.

Evan Frayne is a Vancouver based actor, director and founding Artistic Director of Bleeding Heart Theatre. Evan is a recipient of the Sam Payne Award, and holds an MFA in Directing from UBC.