The Ferryman is three hours and fifteen minutes. That’s roughly the same duration as the flight from New York to Miami. I would have happily stayed another hour. The show is simply spectacular. It’s been three days, and I’m still thinking about it.
The show starts with a discovery. The body of Seamus Carney is found in a bog with a bullet through the back of his head. He is not found by his family, but by members of the IRA. After the prologue, we head to the Carney family house/farm, where Seamus’ entire family resides. They are unaware of the discovery of his body and are merrily preparing for the harvest. Over the next three hours, we learn about the traumas of the Carney family and the insidious violence that stalks them. The surname Carney derives from the Gaelic “O Catharnaigh” which means “warlike.” I’ll stop there.
The cast features 21 actors, a baby, a goose, a rabbit, and a bunny and is set in rural Ireland. During the first act, a few of the actors are preparing breakfast (not a spoiler) and actually cooking. There is a real live stove and there is actually bacon and eggs being cooked. Within the show, there are so many moving pieces. The New York Times recently wrote about the mayhem backstage. None of that is evident on the stage.
The accents took a little to adjust to, but the characters distinguished themselves immediately. Throughout the play, we learn their personalities, desires, and underlying sadness. Through the three hours, we get to know these characters only to have the rug ripped out from under us. I left the theater with my heart racing questioning everything thought I knew about both the show and humanity. During my lunch break tomorrow, I intend to head to the Drama Book Shop to buy the script. Moreover, I hope to see the show again.
Featured Image Credit: Joan Marcus