FARMINGTON —The University of Maine at Farmington will present Martin McDonagh’s Tony-nominated tragicomedy “The Cripple of Inishmaan” as its spring Theatre UMF production. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m., March 19-21, and at 2 p.m., March 22, in the UMF Alumni Theater.

Directed by Jayne Decker, playwright, director and UMF faculty member, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” gives the audience an inside look into life on Ireland’s desolate Aran Islands. Written in the great tradition of Irish storytelling, McDonagh’s play is woven around the true story of the making of the 1934 film, “Man of Aran.” The play tells the story of Cripple Billy, an unloved boy determined to audition for the film, and the remote island community’s comic and often insensitive reaction to his venture of hope and discovery.

“This play raises the bar for our student actors on so many levels,” said Decker. “While every character is delightful, they are also very challenging and creating authentic performances took a tremendous amount of preparation and hard work.”

According to Decker, every seemingly effortless fight scene required hours of rehearsing complicated fight choreography. “I’m just so impressed with our students’ commitment to giving their absolute best performance possible,” said Decker. “They worked tirelessly with Dan “Tree” Robbins, a local dialect coach to help them speak their lines with an authentic Irish accent. It’s such a thrill to see our students portray McDonagh’s characters in such a genuine way.”

Author Martin McDonagh emerged onto the London theatre scene in 1997 with a production of his first major success, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.” That same season the novice playwright achieved the remarkable feat of having four plays on stage in London at the same time, including “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” His career achievements include his 2003 play “The Pillowman” that received the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the 2004-2005 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play and two Tony Awards for production.

An award-winning playwright, Decker has directed numerous productions at UMF Alumni Theater. Her production, “Coyote on a Fence,” was awarded a Moss Hart Memorial Award by the New England Theatre Conference—New England’s oldest and largest regional theatre association. Her other directorial work includes George Brant’s “Elephant’s Graveyard,” the musicals “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Oliver!” and productions of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

She has also presented workshop productions of her original plays “Good Medicine;” “Stars Falling,” winner of the 2002 Maine Playwriting Award; “Jelly Moonshine;” and “Songbird,” a touring play about the Iraq War. “Cracked Shells,” an original play by Decker about domestic violence, was commissioned by Franklin County Network’s Peace in Our Families and was featured again at the 2009 Maine Women’s Studies Conference.

Decker received her master’s from the University of Maine and teaches courses at UMF including writing for the stage and screen and social and political theatre.

This Theatre UMF production is sponsored by the UMF Department of Sound, Performance and Visual Inquiry. The play contains some adult language.

Tickets for the performance are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the time of the performance and can be reserved by calling the Theatre UMF box office at 207-778-7465.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You will find photo at

Photo Credit: UMF Photo

Photo Caption: (Left to right) UMF students Abigail Lindquist, Aaron Verrill and Shelby Thibodeau bring Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” to life at the University’s Alumni Theater March 19-22.




April Mulherin

Associate Director of Media Relations

University of Maine at Farmington


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