Limping tall in a sea of crippled souls

Valley’s production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan” is more than able.

By Jazmine Sanchez, Staff Writer

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” details the story of a small community whose people’s lives thrive on gossip. A young crippled boy named Billy. Billy lands a starring role in a film, “Man of Aran,” that takes him from his community.

The Horseshoe Theater production of Martin McDonaugh’s Tony-nominated play was directed by theater professor Cathy Pyles with a cast of nine Valley College students.

The Horseshoe space is small, which means the set designers have to be creative in their use of lighting and prop placement. From the darkness of the sea where Billy makes a deal with Inishmaan’s resident boatmen Babbybobby (Robert Butler) to Billy’s dramatic audition to what he thought would be an actual film, and ending with the unexpected finally where the story takes a turning point on Billy’s life, everything was distinguishable to the eye. Every scene came to life through the acting, lighting, and overall performance that was well executed.

The set was minimalist; it was difficult to discern the nature of the space at first glance. The prevalence of canned products at the local grocery store gave the production the feel of a poverty-stricken community whose range in food was limited to bare essentials.

Each actor channeled a taste of small town vindictiveness which is what Robert Flaherty, the director of the dubious film these townspeople were auditioning for, witnessed. He saw it through the ambitious foolery these people were doing to each other in order to take part in the film.

The slanderous comments these people made towards one another resonated with each scene. Such feelings were evident in events such as the moment that the fiery Helen (Lily Alquist) lets Billy know that he will never have a chance at her love due to the fact that he is crippled. Her witty tone and shameless look set a heartbroken mood that carried onto the disappointed body posture Billy showed every time he set his eyes on her.

Joshua Esquivel’s Billy evoked, by turns, happiness and sadness. Esquivel delivered with his unchanging body posture, the dragging along of his impaired leg and lifeless arm. Within the moments that he shed tears, Esquivel showed you the person Billy was and made you fall in love with the compassionate heart he carried.

The color choices in the wardrobe, accents leaking from the actor’s lips, beautiful and well-detailed set designs, gave essence to the Irish environment in 1934.

McDonagh’s play creates the world of a society whose patterns do not change and are surrounded by bitter realism.

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