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Falcon Theatre Presents Another Psychological Thriller in “Beauty Queen of Leenane”

Sneak Peek by Doug Iden of The Beauty Queen of Leenane

A dark comedy/horror story with the ironic title of The Beauty Queen of Leenane opens Friday, March 18 at the Falcon Theater in Newport. Based in the mountainous county of Galway in western Ireland, the story concerns a spinster in her early 40s who is taking care of her elderly mother with increasingly disastrous consequences.  Maureen Folan, played by Tara Williams, is a lonely, desperate woman looking for love and companionship in her isolated, decrepit cottage.  However, her manipulative mother, Mag (portrayed by Tracy Schoster) sabotages Maureen’s chances at happiness with an old schoolmate which devolves into the final, horrific ending.

According to Director Ed Cohen, the story addresses the fine line between sanity and insanity. Pure chance helps dictate which side of that line the characters will inhabit. It is a deeply psychological play which is what intrigues Cohen about the production. This is the first play written by Martin McDonagh in what would become a trilogy of plays.  Considered to be one of the finest living Irish playwrights, McDonagh explores, in a very unromantic style, the desolation which country people feel. When you are trapped in an increasingly claustrophobic situation, almost anything can happen.  This is another standout play in a very interesting season at the Falcon, stated Cohen.

The original production in London in 1996 was nominated for the Olivier Award and, two years later, was nominated for 6 Tony awards on Broadway, winning four statues including best leading actress in a play, best supporting actor and actress and best direction.

Originally from Chicago, Tara Williams is a veteran of a dozen years in Cincinnati theater while Tracy Schoster is also a Cincinnati theater mainstay. According to Cohen, these are very difficult roles to play and can be emotionally exhausting for the actors.  Craig Branch and Simon Powell play the potential suitors for Maureen’s attention and one of them dubs her “the Beauty Queen of Leenane”.

Please note the show contains mature subject matter and may not be appropriate for children.

Beauty Queen opens March 18 and runs through April 2 at the Monmouth Theater on 636 Monmouth Street in Newport. For tickets, contact the box office at 513-479-6783 or visit the website.