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A Note from Co-Artistic Director P. Carl on ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’


Part of our core mission is to create long arcs of relationships with artists and theatre companies. In the case of our current production, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, presented by the Druid Theatre Company from Ireland, we also commit to long arcs of relationships to work emanating from different parts of the world. You will notice from our production history a devotion to connecting Boston audiences to stories from Ireland, enriching our already deep history with our European neighbor.

The Druid Theatre Company was a part of our very first season at ArtsEmerson with another Martin McDonagh play, The Cripple of Inishmaan. Since that first season we have filled our stages with provocative, linguistically complex and often dark and contemplative stories from across the Atlantic including this season’s reflections on Beckett by Gare St. Lazare, Here All Night, as well as Waiting for Godot and Moby Dick in previous seasons. And then there was the unforgettable Beckett Trilogy last year performed by Lisa Dwan, at moments in a full theatrical blackout. The thrill of the return of The Druid Theatre is in part a result of the fact that this production is a remount of director Garry Hynes’s Tony Award-winning production from twenty years ago. The actor, Marie Mullen, who performed as the daughter Maureen is back as Maureen’s mother Mag. Oh, how do we count the many long arcs that this production represents—the twenty-year relationship of a company to an artist and a production, an actor’s twenty-year relationship to a text, ArtsEmerson’s seven-year connection to a company that helped launch our very first season, and our deep roots in Irish theatre that reflect Boston’s historical ties to Ireland!

As curators we know the very best art comes from extended ties to stories and artists and geographies over years of conversation and connection. We also know the best audience experiences are a result of diving with intensity into stories that press upon the darkest impulses of our human condition. The body of work we have brought you from Ireland is our effort to give you, our audience, opportunities to consider the existential questions of our existence—the bedrock of the Irish contribution to our theatrical canon. Beauty Queen asks us to consider how far we will go when we feel trapped by time, by family and by geography. What does it mean to be held captive in our own home and perpetually trapped by our circumstances? As we sit in an America divided over how best to better our circumstances and enhance our sense of connection across geography and ideology, this play couldn’t be better situated in our season. Long arcs of relationship reflect our greatest hope.

-P. Carl, Co-Artistic Director

The Beauty Queen of Leenane runs FEB 8 – 26 at the Emerson/Paramount Center

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