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THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN’S AARON MONAGHAN THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND FEATURE

ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY and DRUID

 

‘THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN’STAR

 

AARON MONAGHAN

 

THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND FEATURE

 

 http://www.tdf.org/TDF_Article.aspx?id=229&do=v

 

 

Aaron Monaghan, now starring in the title role in Martin McDonagh‘s acclaimed dark comedy THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, is featured with a Theatre Development Fund feature this week.

 

THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND

 

Cripple” Play

For Aaron Monaghan, the physical demands of “The Cripple of Inishmaan” aren’t his toughest challenge.

 

By Rob Kendt

 

In Martin McDonagh’s moving, crackling play The Cripple of Inishmaan (now at the Altantic Theater Company), the title character-a sensitive young man named Billy, disabled in body but strong of will-returns to his hardscrabble Irish isle after an unlikely brush with Hollywood and reports to his mates, “They decided to hire an actor who could act like a cripple rather than a cripple who can’t act at all.”

 

Audiences may wonder at that line, since the actor playing Billy definitely is Aaron Monaghan, a fiercely talented Irishman making his U.S. stage debut. So unknown is Monaghan on these shores, and so completely does he embody this fascinating, complicated character, that audiences must think: Is Aaron the real thing, like Billy, or an incredible simulation?

 

Curtain call is our first clue, when Monaghan joins the knockout Druid Theatre cast onstage for a bow. Gone is the inward-twisted foot, the cantilevered arm, the lurching walk. Monaghan is the real thing-not a disabled actor, but an actor who plays one so well we’re absolutely convinced.

 

And we’re a little worried: Can putting all his weight on the side of his ankle, as Monaghan does, really be healthy? “It does hurt,” says the Dublin-based and -trained actor. “I have to physically look after myself a lot. I think I’m potentially doing some damage. My routine is same with every show I do, but on this one I’ve extended it. I warm up for two hours and do a lot of limbering up.”

 

Monaghan’s preparation for the role, which he originated in its Irish production under McDonagh specialist Garry Hynes, included a mix of research and experimentation. Monaghan says he wanted to be responsible and sensitive to the conditions of the disabled-which meant, in his case, studying but not outright imitating their particular afflictions.

 

“I want to do it as realistically as possible,” Monaghan says, warming to a subject he says no one has asked him about. “In the play, Martin is deliberately vague: He says Billy has ‘one bad arm and one bad leg.’ He doesn’t say if it’s on the same side. So I tried to find out different conditions that would lead to that; there was nothing that fit it all spot-on. I looked at muscular dystrophy, and there are dozens of different types. So what I did was sort of pick and choose certain ailments.”

 

READ THE REST OF THE FEATURE: http://www.tdf.org/TDF_Article.aspx?id=229&do=v

 

Atlantic Theater Company and Druid‘s THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN is playing an extended engagement through March 1, 2009 Off Broadway at Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:

www.atlantictheater.org

 

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