How it’s New York: Performed in New York as part of 1st Irish Fesitval
How it’s Irish: Trilogy of plays concerning a member of the IRA
Séamus Scanlon’s notorious IRA man Victor McGowan is a despicable character. That is one thing you will certainly take away from his trio of plays, The McGowan Trilogy, currently playing at the Cell Theatre. From the beginning of “Dancing at Lunacy” through the end of “Boy Swam Before Me” you can see the moral fight between good and evil being fought out in the mind of McGowan. It’s not always a pretty tale, peppered with violence and the rapturous joy that the act of killing brings to McGowan, and you definitely won’t walk away finding many redemptive qualities in him.
There are a few strong supporting performances from Conor McIntyre as the barman in the first piece, and Cindy Boyle as May McGowan (Victor’s mother) in the last, but the bulk of the story telling rests uneasily on the shoulders of Paul Nugent in the role of the title character. While his attempts to connect with the demonic qualities of Victor were valiant, Nugent’s performance was often over-the-top and self-serving. He lacked connection with his fellow actors and only in the final act was there a true give and take as Victor struggles to communicate with his senile mother, ultimately driving him to his most heinous crime.
There is promise in the writing, and the overall imagery of the plays. They give interesting insight into the minds of those who have been drawn up into the syringe of patriot revolution, only to inject evil and hatred into all they encounter.
The McGowan Trilogy at the Cell Theatre through Sunday, October 5th.