St. Ann's Warehouse presents the US premiere of Enda Walsh's ('Once') enigmatic, two-person drama about two men whose lives unravel quickly over the course of 90 minutes. More…
Where are these men? Who are they? What room is this, and what might be beyond the walls? Equal parts comic and achingly poignant, 'Ballyturk' scratches beneath the surface of rural Ireland and Walsh’s worlds of 'Misterman' and 'The Walworth Farce.'
"'Ballyturk' isn’t easily explained, nor do we even need to in order to take in the pleasure of viewing such a wildly captivating creation. We just need to give ourselves over to the bleak oddness, and enjoy…This incredibly well staged production brings to mind the classic absurdism of the powerful and dark ‘Waiting For Godot.’ It tantalizes with its abstract creationism and vagueness…Walsh has found the best of both worlds, puzzling our head, while also engaging our hearts." Full Review
“Thrilling...A wild, devastating cry from a playwright who’s both celebrating the small miracle of humankind’s creative impulse and interrogating its ultimate usefulness...A play full of stunning monologues...Walsh turns theatrical examinations of stuckness into exegeses on the art of playmaking. Theater is uniquely good at talking about, eviscerating, celebrating itself — and in 'Ballyturk' you can sense Walsh’s fear that perhaps, in the face of real life’s chaos, that’s all it’s good for.” Full Review
“A dark comedy...An existential drama about friendship and all the personal sacrifices, large and small, that it can demand from an individual...It is amazing to see Murfi do his frenetic comedy routines on stage, while infusing a genuine humanity...Equally mesmerizing is Murphy, whose physical agility and sensitive acting as Character One terrifically complements Murfi's...Fouere delivers a commanding performance...‘Ballyturk’ at St. Ann's might just convert you into a Walsh fan.” Full Review
"Walsh crams big themes into small spaces...After immersing us in this busily static space—Beckett on uppers—Walsh pulls it down with the dramatic arrival of 3 (the magnetic Fouéré)...What this deliberately mysterious play 'means' is left to the audience to imagine. To me, it feels like a theatrical metaphor about the attractions and limits of theater itself; your mileage may vary, but Walsh offers plenty to consider and enjoy along the road." Full Review
"As enigmatic, exhilarating, nonsensical, and frustrating as Samuel Beckett's masterpiece...Though Walsh isn't adding any particularly new insight into the theatrical conversation about life, death, and everything in between, once we see the direction in which he's going, we are able to focus more on what's important. The work, too, finds a nice little center, and there is an unexpected poignancy that follows as Murphy and Murfi confront all of the feelings they thought they'd forgotten." Full Review
"While there is an often frustrating incoherence, this does not diminish the emotional punch thrown by the performance’s climax...Murfi is fantastic...As goofy in 'Ballyturk' as he is devastating...‘Ballyturk’ elicits more questions than it answers in its 95 minutes running time...Be prepared to be thrown off your axis. It is a noteworthy experience, but you’ll land a bit disoriented when the house lights go up.” Full Review
"The dark and enigmatic cosmic farce...'Ballyturk' is so verbally dense that it’s possible to be hypnotized, if not numbed, by some of its lush spoken arias. Even at 90 minutes, it would be better shorter...As a director, Walsh knows how to weave a web of images that defy language. And he infuses them with a kinetic charge...But no matter your immediate response to 'Ballyturk,' it is likely to take up residence in your thoughts after you’ve seen it." Full Review
“'Ballyturk'…challenges audiences to break through its surrealistic shield to pick up whatever crumbs of meaning it may now and then deign to share…Walsh's dreamlike combination of slapstick farce, ritual, violence, dance, music, mime, intellectual abstraction, colloquially accessible and lyrically poetic dialogue, Beckettian overtones…, and narrative confusion is performed…with such exceptional conviction that the play's meaning becomes secondary to its physical and vocal expression.” Full Review
"There are flashes when it’s funny and sad. But mostly it’s a mystery...What’s it all about? That’s never fully explained but intentionally left up in the air. But here’s the thing about a head-scratcher: It can also stimulate your brain. 'Ballyturk' does." Full Review
“Walsh churns out careening, logorrheic scripts that spurn narrative cohesion and embrace a gritty, athletic staging...We never quite grasp the specific relationship between the men...To lighten the mood, Walsh choreographs nutty dance sequences...Walsh explores the limitations of descriptive language and the perilous gap between imagination and reality...One can’t really grumble that Walsh shirks meaning when, in fact, he bashes it on the nose.” Full Review
"In the drama’s most heartbreaking moment, Murphy’s character recites the names of Ballyturk’s inhabitants, while Murfi’s character impersonates them in rapid succession...The most frightening moment is Fouere’s spectacular entrance...In other words, the best moments in 'Ballyturk' have more to do with Walsh’s direction of his play than what he’s given his characters to say...As a director, Walsh is visceral and vivid. As a writer, he enjoys being obscure." Full Review
"Seems to operate on the theory that if a bit of nonsense is amusing, a shipping container's worth is even better. This is not to denigrate the total commitment and skill of the two actors...As 'Ballyturk' begins to acquire a dramatic profile, it also comes to resemble a compendium of absurdist drama tropes…Shuttles between the inexplicable and the derivative, it may be worth seeing if only to catch Fouéré...She very nearly transforms this willfully strange piece into a meaningful experience." Full Review
for a previous production "Wild, zany, dark, and hilarious, 'Ballyturk’s' march through the mayhem of Walsh’s imagination boldly goes where other scripts fear to go. And when it gets there it is very, very good indeed. But when it misses the mark, it can be something of a struggle...It’s still more potent than many other works out there...At its best, 'Ballyturk' is theatrical poetry steeped in sense, nonsense, image, and metaphor...A uniquely powerful theatrical experience." Full Review
for a previous production "The play is closer to a meditation on death; that undiscovered country...Fouéré’s is a fascinating performance...The manic energy of 'Ballyturk’s' routine, excellently delivered by Murfi and Murphy’s double act, stills with her arrival and a proposal: It’s time for one of them to leave. What they would be departing in 'Ballyturk' is a world of cartoonish exaggeration, tumbling with madcap fictions, avalanches of props and shrieking impersonations - in short, an Enda Walsh play." Full Review
for a previous production "The play is essentially a piece of meta-Walsh, a comment on his own writing practice, one that cannibalizes his earlier themes, characters and motifs. At times, it’s a riot. But the strongest sense of the piece now, three years on, is as a staging post: the work of a writer coming to the end of one approach, and about to begin another...Where Rea was sardonic and innately funny, Fouere plays it straight and humorless. Again, it’s simply not as effective this time round." Full Review
See it if you like Enda Walsh, delicious spoken word, masterful acting & movement, dynamic duos, existential mystery
Don't see it if you are confused by abstraction, don't want to read between the lines, need an intermission
See it if You're a fan of Enda Walsh, big themes, absurdist theatre, black humor and have patience for theatre that's not immediately comprehensible..
Don't see it if you need to understand everything that's going on immediately, you hate Beckett or you can't laugh and think at once...
See it if you love Walsh's unique and deeply poetic imagination. Fantastic acting by all three, moments of pure lyricism and masterful direction.
Don't see it if you are not a fan of Walsh's hermetic vision or need a play that explains everything. I am a fan, but I know he can be obtuse at points.
See it if you like challenging, unconventional theater. If you want to see actors put their all into very physical roles.
Don't see it if you want to sit back and be told a pleasant story. If you don't like to have to think about theater.
See it if you are a fan of Enda Walsh, plays with abstract settings, or plays that make you think
Don't see it if you are looking for something straight forward or with a happy ending, or if you can’t understand Irish accents.
See it if you are a fan of existential theater that makes you think, particularly about life and death.
Don't see it if you are looking for a typical narrative play with a straightforward plot.
See it if you like Beckett, Pinter; absurd, challenging, thought-provoking plays, Enda Walsh & his poetic writing combined with manic action
Don't see it if you want a traditional easy-to-follow story that you don't analyze long after you leave
See it if u want modern, hyper, hectic, confusing but passionate and heartfelt ultra-contemporary theater about dystopian living, community & kinship
Don't see it if u don't like Enda Walsh. Nightmarish violent confusing challenging rapid-fire & ultimately tragic & eloquently beautiful. Not for everyone
See it if you enjoy the expressionist, dystopian fables of Enda Walsh, sometimes disarming, often challenging, but always riveting, artful & touching.
Don't see it if you don't think you'll dig an abstract mashup of Beckett's Waiting for Godot, Sartre's No Exit, Emma Donoghue's "Room" & Morecambe and Wise.
See it if You like your theater difficult and thought-provoking to the point of confusion. Also maniacally funny. Or if you are a child of Beckett.
Don't see it if If you favor plots, coherency, logical progression and realism in acting and drama stay away from St. Anne's.
See it if You're a fan of Enda Walsh & contemporary Irish theater, enjoy Beckett-like plots, like visceral, physical acting and awe-inspiring endings
Don't see it if You don't like frantic, bizarrely verbal plays, don't like plots that despite insane activity seem to be static, spiritual or focus on death
See it if you enjoy abstract plays which veer more towards the absurd. A challenging play w/different layers of meaning. Great acting, staging & sound
Don't see it if you're looking for a play that is easy to interpret. This is an unusual piece of work and will certainly not be for everyone.
See it if you like theatre that isn't about logic, but viscerally and kinaesthetic response. you won't understand it but you'll feel it.
Don't see it if you like standard narrative structure and don't like experimental work brinking on near-performance art.
See it if you appreciate theater at the edges, astonishing acting by actors at the top of their craft, or know and already love Enda Walsh's work
Don't see it if You think it'll be like Once. It is not. Or you need linear and clear narratives.
See it if you enjoy avant garde theater, where everything is unclear but somehow resonates with you. I don't quite know how to describe this show.
Don't see it if you want a straight forward play with plot and structure, dislike loud music and silliness, nothing is what it seems.
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