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Dublin’s “The Seafarer” docks at the Lincoln Center

Actor, Joe Vadek, plays the severly alcoholic character "Ivan Curry" in the upcoming OpenStage show "The Seafarer". The The Seafarer is a dark and enthralling tale about five men who cope with their dysfunctional relationships and defective personalities in the warm delirium of alcohol.
Actor, Joe Vader, plays the severly alcoholic character “Ivan Curry” in the upcoming OpenStage show “The Seafarer”. “The Seafarer” is a dark and enthralling tale about five men who cope with their dysfunctional relationships and defective personalities in the warm delirium of alcohol.

Following OpenStage’s successful run of “RENT,” Connor McPherson’s “The Seafarer” is the next theatrical performance by the company to take the stage at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre.

This Tony Award nominated black comedy takes place in an old apartment in Dublin on Christmas Eve. The play follows the story of five men coping with their dysfunctional lives during an evening of cards and booze. As the night goes on, it becomes apparent that one of the men is not as human as he appears to be.


Director Matthew G. Smith has wanted to do this play since he saw it live on Broadway in 2007.

“McPherson is a brilliant playwright,” said Smith, who has been directing for ten years. “The themes strike chords with me personally and with all of us. If you’re patient, something will hit home.”

Smith loves McPherson because he “weaves supernatural and mystical with everyday real people with horrible everyday lives.”

Bruce Freestone plays the devilishly charming Mr. Lockhart. Freestone and his wife Denise, who he met at CSU, founded OpenStage in 1973.

“We wanted to make an opportunity rather than go to one,” Freestone said. Freestone works mainly behind the scenes, but he gets to act once or twice a year. “I have to audition just like anyone else,” Freestone said. “The part suits me or it doesn’t.”

Freestone is fascinated with theatre because of its live element. “When a character onstage has the opportunity to reach out to the audience and establish a connection, that’s the addiction to theatre and live performance. When the curtain goes up, everyone shares it. When it goes down, it’s over. If you missed it, you missed it.”

Freestone said he likes how unique each performance is.

“It’s like a carton of milk—after two hours it’s spoiled,” Freestone said. “You can’t recreate it. That’s what makes it so special.”

Joe Vader, of Lucky Joe’s, plays Ivan Curry. Vader has been a part of all of Smith’s Mcpherson plays.


“I started when Matt did,” Vader said. “He drug me from the open mic to OpenStage.” His first part was as a bartender in Mcpherson’s “Weir,” which turned out to be a natural role for him.

Vader echoes Smith’s comments about the reality of the work. “It’s very modern day and very real,” he said. “It’s not stodgy old theater. The play has tremendous sadness, conflict and humor. You can look at it like a tragedy or comedy because life contains all of these things.”

James Burnes plays James ‘Sharky’ Harkin, the protagonist of the play. “It’s very on the pulse of modern life,” Burns said. “It’s fun, gutsy and visceral.”

Charlie Ferrie plays Richard Harkin, Sharky’s older brother. “Richard is the ultimate everyman,” Ferrie said. “He has all the human flaws magnified. He’s a decent person, but very hypocritical.”

A unique aspect of the play is the dialect and naturalistic style of the dialogue. The way it mimics reality makes it challenging and fun for the actors.

“This is my third Mcpherson play,” Vader said. “So the Irish-English isn’t that difficult anymore. What’s hard is keeping up with the dialogue as it goes round and round.”

Dan Tschirhart, who plays Nicky Giblin, said, “It’s so fast, so quick, and you’re doing other things on top of talking.”

“There’s non-sequiturs, overlap, layering, and knowing the rhythm rather than the cue,” Burns said.

If you are skeptical because you never heard of “The Seafarer” or Mcpherson, Smith wishes to put you at ease.

“Every work we’ve done of his has been a tremendous success,” Smith said. “You can’t go wrong with booze and Christmas Eve.”

“The Seafarer” runs from Nov. 2 – 30 at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre. You can go to for more info or call the box office at 970-221-6730.

Collegian Entertainment Staff Writer Jefferson Geiger can be reached at 

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