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The Steward of Christendom

By:Sebastian Barry
Director:Max Stafford-Clark
Sets:Julian McGowan
Lighting:Johanna Town
Music:Shaun Davey
Sound:Paul Arditti
Opened:1/97 at the Majestic Theater
Cast: Donal McCann, Ali White, Tina Kellegher, Aislin McGuckin, Carl Brennan, Rory Murray, Maggie McCarthy and Kieran Ahern

Irish thespian McCann astounds with a visceral, unshakable performance as a former superintendent of Dublin's metropolitan police who is now the resident of an austere cell in a mental institution. Barry's magnificent portrait is a dramatic recollection of 70 years of torture and losses in one man's life. Slouched in stained long underwear, McCann unfurls his tale in monologues, flashbacks and encounters with visitors, forging an arresting balance between moving detail and creative abstraction. Thankfully, the play does not ask that McCann go through the many ages of his character; he instead triumphs in shading his performance to relay a sense of past and present. Despite the tragic tinges of ruefulness and despair, McCann's tour de force travels beyond his dingy cell to a place of greater clarity.


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