Category - Theatre Date - Thursday, January 17, 2019 8:00 pm
DATE: Thursday, January 17th, 2019
After 4 years of trying to lock him down for a date to perform in Westport Town Hall, Irish actor-writer Mikel Murfi finally brings enormously big-hearted, ridiculously energetic one-man show “The Man in The Woman’s Shoes” to Westport on January 16th and 17th. Shortlisted for the Irish Theatre Awards, and following rave reviews from the New York Times, The London Times and The Sunday Times – this is a one-actor show that is not to be missed. For 75 minutes, Murfi talks pretty much non-stop, making real the inner voice of his character, Pat Farnon – a rather animated cobbler. Other characters come thick and fast as Murfi acts out the endless folk who Pat meets during the day or who he remembers on his travels.
We meet Pat carrying out an odd task. It’s late 1978, and he’s walking into town from his house wearing a pair of women’s shoes. Why? He’s breaking them in for Kitsy, a woman who he admires and who’s coaching a football team in the park that afternoon. En route, Pat meets friends and acquaintances; he stops in a cafe; he ponders the Catholic church and his relationship with God; he laughs about the recently deceased Pope. The chat is so relentless that it’s hard to keep up at times. But the words, language and rhythms of everyday speech all carry a sharp ring of truth to them. It helps that so much of this is very funny, a carnival of the everyday.
Murfi’s play, which has toured to record-breaking demand in Ireland, UK and the USA was commissioned by the Sligo Arts office for a festival celebrating creativity among older age groups; while writing it he drew on the stories and memories of people in his home country of Sligo. On a journey that faintly recalls Maddy Rooney’s walk to the station in Samuel Beckett’s All that Fall – though Murfi’s play has only hints of the darkness and complexity of Beckett’s drama – Pat meets a collection of eccentric local characters, recalls old customs such as notifying the bees of a death, and considers whether Pope John Paul could become an organ donor (the play is set in October 1978, months after he had died). Described as Extraordinary physical performance steeped in sharp observational comedy – this is a play not to be missed in Westport. For tickets please see www.westporttheatre.com or call 09828459
Winner: Stewart Parker/ BBC Northern Ireland Radio Drama Award 2013
Winner: Writers Guild of Ireland (Zebby) Award 2014: Best Theatre Script
Shortlisted: Irish Times Theatre Awards: Best New Play 2013
“Astonishing Acting….” – The New York Times
“A miniature masterpiece” – The Times of London
“Extraordinary physical performance…sharp observational comedy” – The Sunday Times
The show was created with the support of the Sligo County Council Arts Service and The Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo as part of the Bealtaine Festival for Creativity in older people.
The Man In The Woman’s Shoes has toured extensively in Ireland since 2012. It has played twice in NYC at the Irish Arts Centre in Manhattan. It ran for three weeks at The Tricycle Theatre, London in 2016 to full houses. It is available for limited touring. A new companion piece called I Hear You and Rejoice premiered in January 2017 and has been touring Ireland and returned to Tricycle, London to five star reviews.
Originally from Sligo, Mikel Murfi trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Paris.
Stage acting includes: Swan Lake (Teac Damsa); The Man in The Woman’s Shoes (Loco and Reckless Productions); The Last Hotel and Ballyturk (Galway Arts Festival/Landmark/Wide Open Opera); The New Electric Ballroom (Druid); The Chairs (Blue Raincoat Theatre); Morning After Optimism, Playboy of the Western World (Peacock Theatre); The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest (Abbey Theatre) Giselle, Rite of Spring and Petrushka (Fabulous Beast) Desire Under The Elms (Lyric, Hammersmith).
Directing work includes: Toraiocht (Fíbín); The Walworth Farce,Penelope (Druid); Trad, The Great Goat Bubble (Galway Arts Festival); The Country Girls (Red Kettle); Diamonds in the Soil (Macnas); Waiting for Godot (Theatre Du Pif, Hong Kong); The Far Off Hills (Nomad Theatre Network).
Film includes: The Ballad of Kid Kanturk, Intermission, Sweety Barrett, The Butcher Boy, Love and Rage, Guiltrip and most recently Jimmy’s Hall. As a director Druma and John Duffy’s Brother.