Monday 08th May

The Seafarer

presented by Kilmeen Drama Group

The Seafarer is a 2006 play by Irish playwright Conor McPherson.


The Seafarer

The Seafarer

It is set on Christmas Eve in Baldoyle, a coastal suburb north of Dublin city. The play centers on James “Sharky” Harkin, an alcoholic who has recently returned to live with his blind, aging brother, Richard Harkin. As Sharky attempts to stay off the bottle during the holidays, he contends with the hard-drinking, irascible Richard and his own haunted conscience. It was nominated for multiple Tony Awards as well as the Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award for Best Play.


Having recently been let go from his job chauffeuring a wealthy developer and his wife in Lahinch, Co. Clare, Sharkey returns to Dublin to look after Richard. Tension between the brothers is evident from the start and exists mostly in Richard’s constant sniping and excessive demands from his younger brother. A source of early conflict stems from Richard’s inviting Nicky Giblin—Sharky’s love rival—to join the men, along with Ivan, for a game of poker.

Nicky Giblin unexpectedly arrives with the mysterious Mr. Lockhart, a man of refined appearance. During a tête-à-tête, Lockhart reminds Sharky of their prior meeting which occurred twenty-five years to the day previously, when the pair were remanded together in the Bridewell Garda Barracks when Sharky had been arrested over the killing of a vagrant, Lawrence Joyce. During the period of their captivity Sharky had agreed to a game of cards in which he wagered his soul in a game of poker against Lockhart in a bid to gain his freedom. Sharky won the game and with it his freedom, but with the proviso that Lockhart would at some future date, have an opportunity to play him once again.

The play culminates with the poker game played between the five men, ostensibly a harmless game of cards, it is in fact a game for Sharky’s soul as Lockhart reveals himself, in a series of private disclosures to Sharky, to be a Mephistophelian entity. Sharky once again trumps his adversary when in the denouement Ivan reveals his winning hand of four aces which he had earlier mistaken for four fours due to his myopia.

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