Set in 2013 Ireland, A Night Alive, written by Irish playwright Conor McPherson focuses on a man trying to survive hard times. The role of Tommy is played by Edward Gero, an experienced actor who is a mainstay in the Washington area who most recently played Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist.
Tommy is a partially employed middle aged man living in a makeshift apartment in his uncle’s house. He works odd jobs with his dimwitted friend Doc, whom he is like a father to. Tommy previously owned his own business but has lost it along with his family, a wife and two kids, from whom he is now estranged. One night Tommy meets Aimee, a battered woman , decides to help her and from there all his trouble starts.
The play shows desperate, down and out people who are struggling and barely getting by. Placed in the aftermath of the economic downturn, the characters struggle with depression, poverty, thoughts of suicide and abuse. The characters are all well-meaning people who are struggling financially, and who are working to create their own patchwork family. At first these issues are addressed in a light hearted way with jokes and humor then, story takes a darker turn. The audience begins the play laughing along with the characters about the state of their lives and then it shifts into sadness for the characters and their limits.
The entire play takes place in Tommy’s apartment with the characters coming and going, in and out. The apartment is grimy and overcrowded , a depiction of Tommy’s life throughout the play. The scenes can at times seem disjointed and the change in tone can be jarring. “All I can say is my work is a battle against loneliness,” said, McPherson. “It’s an acknowledgement that we all have fundamental loneliness even though you may not be alone.”
The Night Alive is running until November 13 at RoundHouse Theatre in 4545 East-West Hwy, Bethesda, MD 20814. For tickets and more information, visit their website www.roundhousetheatre.org.