“A Behanding in Spokane,” Whitefish Theatre Company’s third Black Curtain Theatre production of the 2017-2018 season, debuts at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish at 7:30 p.m. March 24-25.
This dazzlingly macabre tale comes from the brilliant, twisted mind of Irish playwright Martin McDonagh; audience members should be aware that this play contains very strong language and contentious mature themes.
In this darkly comical work, the mysterious gun-toting Carmichael (Andrew Matulionis) has been searching for his missing left hand for decades. Enter two bickering lovebirds with a hand to sell and a hotel clerk with an aversion to gunfire, and soon life and death are up for grabs.
Called “perfect, demented, ecstatic, sadistic and imaginative” by The New York Times, “A Behanding in Spokane” reveals the gritty underbelly of American daily existence, exposing the obsessions, prejudices, madness, horrors, and above all the absurdities that crawl beneath it. Famous for mixing hilarious with horrific, it’s no wonder McDonagh (who won a Tony Award for “Pillowman” and was nominated for an Academy Award for “In Bruges”) has been dubbed theater’s Quentin Tarantino. “A Behanding in Spokane” is black comedy at its funniest, thanks to McDonagh’s “wildly entertaining” and “truly explosive” script.
“In many of his plays, Marvin McDonagh is fascinated with wretched lowlifes who on the surface seem to have no redeeming qualities,” says Director Renee Frances Conn. “But if you look deeper, his plays, including ‘A Behanding In Spokane’ are unflinching commentaries about the hardened societies that have created these characters.”
“Civilization, quite truthfully, is not always pretty and McDonagh’s stereotyped caricatures are results of their cruel, complicated pasts. While McDonagh may shock the audience with his take on casual and abrupt violence, vengeance, and language, I think his real aim is to have the audience consider the obscenity of poverty, racism, gun violence, and the lack of personal responsibility,” says Conn. Amazingly, McDonagh accomplishes this “with wicked bursts of humor that make you laugh and gasp within the same breath.”
Cast members include Andrew Matulionis as Carmichael, Amy Galt as Marilyn, Scott Plotkin as Mervyn, and Robby Cale as Toby.
“I urge you to come to the theater ready to explore a script that is not what it appears on the surface. It is a parable within a play and there are no easy answers,” says Conn. She reminds viewers that as a Black Curtain production, there will minimal staging, no set or props, and actors will be reading from a script.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students with general seating and are sold only at the door on the evenings of each show. The Box Office opens at 6:30 p.m. and is located at 1 Central Ave., Whitefish. For more information, call 406-862-5371 or visit www.whitefishtheatreco.org.