The spirit of one of Ireland’s most notorious playwrights Brendan Behan – humorist, songster, rabble-rouser, storyteller supreme, rebel and all-round entertainer – is captured in this original and funny play by Jim Sheridan (director/co-screenwriter, Oscar-nominated film, “My Left Foot” and others) and his brother Peter Sheridan (“Borstal Boy”and others). “Being Behan” is directed by special guest director, Dubliner Peter Sheridan, playwright, author, director, filmmaker and friend of the Behan family.
Sheridan grew up just 200 yards from the Behan household. One of the Irish literary giants of the 20th century, Behan became a pop culture icon, appearing as a frequent guest on both the British and American talk show circuits. His hard-drinking lifestyle eventually took its toll. His final illness took him to Meath Hospital in Dublin, where Sheridan’s aunt was a nurse. He died at the age of 41 in 1964. Sheridan wrote and directed the film adaptation of “Borstal Boy,” Behan’s autobiographical novel, in 2000.
“It was Peter Sheridan’s production of “Waiting for Godot” that brought Chris O’Neill and me to Buffalo in 1985,” said Vincent O’Neill. “In looking at the history of the Irish Classical Theatre Company, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to have Peter direct Jim’s play here, completing the circle that began a quarter of a century ago,” he concluded.
In “Being Behan,” two actors play Behan as a young man, and Behan as the older playwright looking back on his checkered life. A third actor plays everybody else, from prisoners to judges to soldiers to landladies. The cast includes Irish Classical Theatre Company Artistic Director Vincent O’Neill as older Behan and Joe Liolos as younger Behan. Adriano Gatto plays all the other roles.
Supporting the production are Production Stage Manager Renee Radzavich, Assistant Stage Manager Katie Mallinson, Technical Director and Lighting Designer Brian Cavanagh, Set Designer Chantal Calato, Sound Designer Tom Makar and Costume Designer Kari Drozd.
Performances will take place at The Andrews Theatre, the home of the Irish Classical Theatre Company, 625 Main St., Buffalo now through Sunday, April 14. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $34 to $42. Student tickets are available for $15 with valid student ID.