Richard and I saw *The Beauty Queen of Leenane* at BAM on 1/21.  It's a play by Martin McDonagh, it had its Broadway premiere in 1998.  Both that production and this production originated at the Druid Theatre Company in Galway.  Karen Miller and I have seen two other Druid productions in New York: a J. M. Synge marathon and "Druid Shakespeare", a greatly condensed presentation of *Richard II,* *Henry IV Part One,* *Henry IV Part Two,* and *Henry V.*  All of these productions were directed by the great Garry Hynes.

 

The play takes place in a small Irish town, Leenane, in the home of Maureen and her mother, Mag, played by Aisling O'Sullivan and Marie Mullen.  O'Sullivan had played Henry V in Druid Shakespeare, and Mullen has been in everything I've seen by the Druids.  There was a special bonus for people who saw the 1998 Broadway production: Mullen had played the daughter in that production, and was playing the mother now.  The title of the NY Times review was "Oh Gosh, I've Turned Into My Mother."  The two other characters are the young man who's interested in the daughter, played by Aaron Monaghan, and his infuriating younger brother, played by Marty Rea.

The first act was highly naturalistic, even banal, but always engrossing.  It was amusing, then touching, then hilarious, then not funny at all.  I have to say that at first I struggled understanding the actors, their accents were very thick.  But I got used to it.  I still don't think I got 100%, but I got most of it.  The second act is more dramatic, more heightened, much more disturbing.  It's sort of a Pinter kind of journey, but entirely Irish.

 

The mother/daughter relationship is the centerpiece of the play.  Martha Fischer once told me that the mother/daughter relationship is often trouble, but the source of the trouble is usually the daughter having problems with the mother.  Martha knows a thing or two about this, being both the daughter of a mother and the mother of a daughter.  It seems the seesaw tips in that direction in *The Beauty Queen of Leenane.*  Mothers and daughters, is this your experience?

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