Laugh like a sailor


Irvin Trigueros

Mario Castillo scolds a shocked Claudia Vasquez during opening night of the new LMC performance of “The Cripple of Inishmaan” in the Little Theater

Rattana Kima

As audience members strolled into the Little Theater, chatter fought with the upbeat music playing in the background. The opening night of The Cripple of Inishmaan, written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Reid Davis, was minutes away from captivating the audience.

The lights dimmed and the music faded as fast as the audience’s murmurs. They were allowed a few last moments to soak up the sensational scenery before the actors stole the focus. The set was beautifully crafted and designed, in shades of blue and brown. The story takes place off the west coast of Ireland on Inishmaan in the Aran Islands, so the stage was cleverly designed to resemble an island. The floor between the set and front row was covered in a layer of sand with the bow of ship peeking out. The set on stage resembled a saloon with dark wooden floors and jars stacked on the shelves behind the counter.

The play focuses on the Story of Cripple Billy, played by Konnor Heredia, and opens with a scene of sisterly bickering between Kate and Eileen, played by Marina Ketchum and Miranda Ketchum. Fits of giggles and chuckles already started to erupt over the bickering, but the laughter did not end there.

JohnnyPateenMike, played by Claudia Vasquez, stole nearly every scene she appeared in. From exuberant entrances and over-exaggerated body language to his immense love for himself, laughter from the audience never ceased.

“It’s one of those plays that you’re not sure if you should laugh,” Vasquez said, explaining that the witty jokes and dark humor dealt with sensitive issues, such as the mocking Cripple

Billy constantly received from the rest of the characters.

But the laughs kept coming. From small chuckles to big belly laughs, the actors received a reaction for every joke. A few of the running gags included Bartley’s obsession with telescopes, Cripple Billy’s odd hobby of watching cows, and Helen’s love of smashing eggs.

“It was magnificent,” said Deena Love, one of the audience members. “It feels likes you’re there with them. It’s just that good.”

The acting performances were phenomenal. The actors all seemed comfortable with each other on stage, including the violent and emotional scenes.

When Babbybobby, played by Mario Castillo, realized Cripple Billy had deceived him, he gave Cripple Billy a beating. Each actor made it seemed so natural and effortless as they emulsified their characters.

Another audience favorite was Helen, played by Sonia Azizi.

The irony in her comedy was the male actor’s fear of her aggressive, vain attitude. Whenever Helen’s brother Bartley, played by Devin Williams, was on stage with her, he became the object of her humorous bullying tactics.

Aside from getting the audience to laugh nearly every minute, the actors made use of every space of the set.

Audience members were twisting and turning around in their seats every now and then throughout the play to see the actors around them.

In a few scenes, JohnnyPateen drunkenly strolled down the theater stairs and ran back up.

Babbybobby and JohnnyPateen, who were inches away from the front row seat engaged in a quick brawl in the sand with JohnnyPateen kicking dust toward the audience.

Helen threw an egg toward the television screen in the audience, where Cripple Billy revealed himself before descending the stairs to the stage. When evening approached on the island shore, fog lights on either side of the stage covered the rest of the Little Theater.

The production will continue its showings on April 26, 27, 29 at the Little Theater.

Aye, if ye want a good ‘ole laugh, go see The Cripple of an Inishmaan.