“A Man of No Importance” presents a refreshing musical

By Alla Drokina, Staff Writer

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“A Man of No Importance,” directed by EWU alumnus Jadd Davis of the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, explores themes of self-acceptance, identity, shame, sin and most importantly, love.

The audience is transported to 1940s Ireland where the cast is clad in retro costumes. The women can be seen in bright, polka dot patterns or plaid with knee-length skirts and cardigans, while the men sport trousers, suspenders and often a cap.

The Irish dialect adopted by the cast points to a low-income crowd in Dublin, Ireland. This is a time where progressive thinking is not at the forefront. The city people still adhere to traditional norms and convention reigns supreme.

The audience receives an informal introduction to many of the townspeople in the beginning. Among them, is the butcher, Mr. Carney, played by EWU theatre major David Logghe, whose shop is decorated on stage with sausages and other types of meat. Mr. Carney harbors a deep affection for acting and theater, particularly the kind of acting where he gets to play the lead.

Alfie Byrne, the protagonist and middle-aged bus conductor, wants to direct Oscar Wilde’s “Tragedy of Salome” in the small town, yet the townspeople do not like the themes of the play being portrayed.

Lily, played by theatre student Alyssa Day, is Alfie’s cantankerous sister, who seems to always have a roast in the oven and constantly berates her brother “out of love,” often steals the stage with her pout and sour attitude.

Oscar Wilde, played by Logghe, serves as a mentor and adviser in Alfie’s imagination even appearing in his dreams at times and encouraging him with sentiments such as, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Wilde is Alfie’s favorite writer.

The characters almost rotate in a conveyer belt fashion, popping in and out of Alfie’s life during certain scenes then reconvening in the background to sing songs.

The rotating stage helps the scenes transition from different settings, such as a local Irish pub or a cozy kitchen.

“The show is a lot more flashy and unexpected from a production standpoint than previous shows,” said Elizabeth Lewis, junior, an EWU theatre and film major, as well as the light board operator for the musical.

Alfie is the black sheep in his town, poetic instead of pragmatic. A dreamer instead of a realist, he remains pure-hearted and innocent.

Chris Hansen, a theatre major, plays Alfie with his soft eyes and contemplative look. Hansen does an excellent job of conveying a deep, unfulfilled longing in Alfie’s face.

The action begins to unfold when Adele, played by student Haliey Gilbert, a young, beautiful woman, steps onto Alfie’s bus. Instantly mesmerized by her, he decides she is the perfect one to play the Princess of Judea in the play, “Tragedy of Salome” by Oscar Wilde, which Alfie desires to direct and bring to life in his town, despite Father Kenny’s objections and the controversy it raises.

Much to Lily’s dismay, Alfie’s feelings toward Adele are merely platonic.

Although there is a particular warmth in the way Alfie interacts with the people, one wonders whether the warmth will continue to be reciprocated when they find out about his sexuality.

Lily, whose primary goal is to marry Alfie off so she can get on with her own life, is distraught and feels disconnected from her brother. She is unaware of Alfie’s long-kept secret, but in this musical, Alfie is not the only one concealing a secret.

With a vibrant cast and equally vibrant music score, “A Man of No Importance” is a heart-felt delight for the audience.

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