Playwright Sean O’Casey wrote “Juno and the Paycock” in the 1920s, when being Irish was virtually synonymous with being poor, and often implied a lack of formal education. Set in a Dublin tenement, this play is about a family where the father, who’s perpetually between jobs, is usually found in a neighborhood snug, which is to say a bar. And his longsuffering wife doesn’t like it one bit.
(excerpt from play)
That kind of domestic comedy dominates the early scenes, but as this play develops, it deals with some serious issues, including the harsh consequences that befall a woman who’s lost her virtue, and the violent retribution of uncompromising Irish revolutionaries. “Juno and the Paycock” is a meaty play that takes a deep look at life. It’s more ambitious, and yes, a tad more demanding, than many of the frothy comedies that are the B Street Theatre’s bread and butter. But it’s also more rewarding. This is easily the most interesting and unusual show the B Street has staged in years – and the opportunity to luxuriate in playwright Sean O’Casey’s brilliant dialog is an unparalleled treat.
Juno and the Paycock is at the B Street Theatre through May 21st.