THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD 

By J. M. Synge

Directed By Michael Scott

Designed By Michael McCaffery 

Music - Sean O Riada

Music Reconstruction Cormac De Barra

Production Manager and Technical Director -  Eric Grattan


The Playboy of the Western World is a three-act play written by Irish playwright John Millington Synge and first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on 26 January 1907. 

It is set in Michael James Flaherty's public house in County Mayo (on the west coast of Ireland) during the early 1900s. 

 Christy Mahon stumbles into Flaherty's tavern. There he claims that he is on the run because he killed his own father by driving a loy into his head. Flaherty praises Christy for his boldness, and Flaherty's daughter (and the barmaid), Pegeen, falls in love with Christy, to the dismay of her betrothed, Shawn Keogh. Because of the novelty of Christy's exploits and the skill with which he tells his own story, he becomes something of a town hero. Many other women also become attracted to him, including the Widow Quin, who tries unsuccessfully to seduce Christy at Shawn's behest. Christy also impresses the village women by his victory in a donkey race, using the slowest beast.

Eventually Christy's father, Mahon, who was only wounded, tracks him to the tavern. When the townsfolk realize that Christy's father is alive, everyone, including Pegeen, shuns him as a liar and a coward. To regain Pegeen's love and the respect of the town, Christy attacks his father a second time. This time it seems that Old Mahon really is dead, but instead of praising Christy, the townspeople, led by Pegeen, bind and prepare to hang him to avoid being implicated as accessories to his crime. Christy's life is saved when his father, beaten and bloodied, crawls back onto the scene, having improbably survived his son's second attack. As Christy and his father leave to wander the world, having reconciled, Shawn suggests he and Pegeen get married soon, but she spurns him. Pegeen laments betraying and losing Christy: "I've lost the only playboy of the western world."

The Production brought back live theatre to what is now know as the Ambassador Theatre in Dublin - originally it was the the Rotunda Rooms.

The building was constructed as part of the Rotunda Hospital in 1764 as an assembly hall and social rooms on what is now called Parnell Street. Charles Dickens read from the stage to sell out crowds.

From 1897 onwards, the venue was given the name Rotund Rooms and hosted a number of "moving picture" screenings which were a great novelty at the time. From about 1908 onwards, it was used more regularly to show film presentations and in 1910 it became a full-time cinema.

In the 1950s, the cinema was redesigned, increasing the capacity it  reopened in 1954 as the Ambassador. It became a gala event venue, holding screenings of many films for the first time. Of note was the screening of The Blue Max in 1966, which was shot in Ireland. For the screening, a World War I plane adorned the roof of the cinema above the entrance.

In 1977, the cinema was forced to close briefly, but it reopened that summer under new ownership. The Green Group ran the cinema until 1988, and the cinema mainly played children's films such as The Care Bears Movie and its sequels. In 1988, with single-screen cinemas on the wane, it closed.

However, in 1994 it was given a new lease of life when it reopened under the ownership of Ward Anderson. Notable screenings upon reopening included Titanic, however, attendances were poor, most notably when a reissue of the 1935 film The Informer was screened to as few as two people per show. On 27 September 1999, after 45 years, the cinema closed. MCD leased the building in 2008 and reopened it as an event and concert venue.


CAST

Pegeen Mike   - Cathy Belton 

Christy Mahon  

Widow Quinn    - Dolores Keane

Michael James - Johnny Murphy 

Shawn Keogh   - Brian Thinder

Old Mahon        - Kevin McHugh

Sarah Tansy 

Susan Brady     - Aishling Doyle

Horor Blake

Philly Cullen      - Derek Chapman 

Jimmy Farrell    - Michael O Sullivan 


Musicians

Cormac De Barra