Irish Rep Streams Little Gem
Elaine Murphy's Moving Tritych Is a Jewel
By: Sysan Hall - Apr 29, 2021
Irish Repertory Theatre presents
Little Gem by Elaine Murphy
Directed by Marc Atkinson Borrull
Streaming through May 8.
Irish Repertory Theatre is streaming its 11th production in the time of Covid. Today we seldom see heterosexual women of three generations loving their men, despite difficulties boyfriends and husbands bring to a relationship.
Marsha Mason shines as the matriarch, Kay, watching her husband of forty-two years disappear into dementia and impotence. When we meet her, she has not had sex for a year and welcomes the recommendation of a friend to seek out a helping device. She entertains a pink Jumping Rabbit, and ends up with a six-inch green Kermit.
Nothing shocks in Elaine Murphy’s beautifully crafted triptych. The new generation, Amber, is pregnant by a man who has plans to move as far from her as possible. Her mother, Lorraine, was abandoned by a husband, now homeless.
Hope comes not just in the form of sex toys, but a romance in Lorraine’s instance, and Little Gem, a baby boy, in Amber’s.
The actors reprise their roles in the Irish Rep’s 2019 live production.
The beautiful lilt of the Irish language draws us in. Articulation is gentle, pleading, exuberant, and also full of disappointment. Director Marc Atkinson Borrull has a touching sense of the emotions of the moment. When we go to Paris, we come out of the Metro and look up at the Arc de Triomphe with Lorraine and her new steady beau Niles.
Filming took place in London, New York and Litchfield, Connecticut. The play is perfect for streaming because we focus on one character at a time. Yet a populous, intimate world is drawn by each character. Filming is effectively executed.
With Amber, we experience the birth of a child, and the hope a new life promises. With Kay, we remember the long relationship with a man who is husband, friend, father and mate.
We hear today so much about the abuse of women that we sometimes forget how much we appreciate men and their presence in our lives.
Set design, Meredith Ries
Costume design< Christopher Metzger
Lighting design, Michael O’Connor
Sound design, M. Florian Staab
Sound design and original music. Ryan Rumery.
Arthur Atkinson and Rebecca C. Monroe, production coordinators
Simon Patrick Geaney, production assistant
Editing Sarah Nichols
Casting, Deborah Brown
Friday April 30 at 8pm
Saturday May 1 at 3pm & 8PM
Sunday May 2 at 2PM
Tuesday May 4 at 7pm
Wednesday May 5 at 3pm & 8pm
Thursday May 5 at 7pm
Friday May 7 at 8pm Saturday. May 8 at 3pm & 8PM
Sunday May 9 at 2pm
All times are ET. Free. Donations are welcome.