This little two-man comedy has been around for about fifteen years now, and productions have proliferated on the periphery of this region, but this production at The Theater Barn was my first chance to see it. I knew that it was set in Ireland and that it was one of those two-guys-play-all the-parts deals, which made me think I was going to see a kind of Tuna Go Bragh. But I was delighted with the cast and director that the Barn announced, and went off with high hopes of a fun-filled evening.
I walked out of the theatre so deeply impressed with what I had seen – with Marie Jones magical script, with Phil Rice’s meticulous direction, and with Trey Compton and Matthew Daly’s artistry – that I was genuinely astonished. This is no little comedy. This is a profoundly affecting little play about human dignity and frailty and the psychology of place – how where we come from and where we make our home affect who we are.
The premise is simple – two Irishmen, one a local and one an “outsider” – are working as extras in a cheesy Hollywood flick called The Quiet Valley, one of many that are shot on the lush Irish countryside every year. This is the only work they can get as both farming and manufacturing have died out and neither are well educated or highly skilled. They are left playing caricatures of themselves on their home soil for forty quid a day. How each copes with that depressing irony forms the core of the story.