As tough as Philadelphians like to think they are, the tiny Irish town of Leenane could give even this city a run for its corrupt money. Or, at least, after playwright Martin McDonagh has his way with it.
“McDonagh has a weird viewpoint in that he was born in England. He’s writing it as someone who only went to Ireland on holidays, and he’s kind of taken this place he knows enough about and run it through his own mind too create this fantastical version of a rural space,” explains M. Craig Getting, co-director of Lantern Theater’s “A Skull in Connemara.” “It’s just this weird, romanticized version of this tiny village where gossip and violence are rampant. Someone is just as likely to say hello to you as they are to turn around and talk about how you might have killed someone.”
“A Skull in Connemara” tells the story of Leenane’s grave digger, Mick Dowd (played by Stephen Novelli), who is tasked with clearing old bones out of the town’s overcrowded cemetery to make way for new bodies. It’s the perfect setup for a dark comedy, as well as a morbid props dilemma.
“Our prop people bought a skeleton and created a plaster mold from it to create new bones. But because there’s some breaking that goes on in the play, we had to figure out how to make them best snap,” recalls Getting. “It’s a little odd to go through the theater when this is taking place.”