The Seafarer

HP_The Seafarer_Fred Kroh Michael F CahillA supernatural drama that combines the folksy sensibilities of an Irish ghost story with the streetwise dialogue of modern day Dublin, Hoy Polloy presents the Victorian premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer at fortyfivedownstairs for a limited season from 30 July.

Hoy Polloy founder and artistic director, Wayne Pearn, describes The Seafarer as “a really intimate observation of male dereliction – it’s about us needing darkness in our lives so we are able to grasp the light.”

Set in Baldoyle, a suburb on the coast north of Dublin on Christmas Eve, James ‘Sharky’ Harkin is battling alcoholism and has returned to live with his hard drinking older blind brother Richard.

As the night rolls on and the storm clouds gather the brothers are joined by an assortment of friends – one of whom brings an unfamiliar guest insisting on a game of poker. With two demons at play on this night – one of which is ‘the drink’ – the stakes in this card game could not come any higher.

Pearn is constantly in thrall of the terrain Conor McPherson explores, “life’s mysteries (big and small), guilt, redemption and aloneness set in his trademark pitch black humour – I suppose we’re attracted to a well told Faustian tale.”

“Supernatural stories do hold a powerful attraction for us. Why? Do we identify in some way with these characters and, how in certain instances, we roll the dice in our own lives and then have to deal with the consequences good or bad? It is just fabulous storytelling,” Pearn explains.

Written in 2006 by acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson, The Seafarer was nominated for multiple Tony Awards as well as the Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play. McPherson has been described as ‘the finest playwright of his generation’ – his work includes The Weir which received the George Devine, Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards; Shining City was nominated for a Tony Award; Dublin Carol; and his most recent work The Night Alive.

Director: Wayne Pearn  Featuring: Barry Mitchell, Geoff Hickey, Adam Rafferty, David Passmore, Michael F Cahill

The Seafarer
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 30 July – 10 August 2014
Bookings: (03) 9662 9966 or online at:

For more information, visit: for detail.

Image: Michael F Cahill – photo by Fred Kroh