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Austin Arts: Seeing Things

Posted: 9:59 a.m. Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: "Port Authority" at Hyde Park Theatre 


Austin360 arts calendar, July 11- July 17
Top to bottom: Tom Green, Ken Webster, & Nate Jackson in “Port Authority” by Conor McPherson, through Aug. 9 at Hyde Park Theater.

By Cate Blouke

Special to the American-Statesman

Every day, people make choices that affect the rest of their lives. Sometimes these decisions are obviously monumental: which college to attend, what job to take, where to live. But more often, it’s the slow and steady unfolding of our relationships that have the most profound effect on who we become.

Connor McPherson’s “Port Authority,” playing now through Aug. 9 at Hyde Park Theatre, gently weaves us a captivating tale of three men and their relationships. Performed through three intertwined monologues, the show is straightforward, unpretentious and surprisingly lovely.

Under Ken Webster’s direction, he and his two cast-mates (Nate Jackson and Tom Green) tell us the stories of unspectacular lives. Supported by McPherson’s excellent script, they do it with the calm sincerity and jovial self-deprecation of seasoned storytellers that inevitably draws you in and keeps you along for the ride.

Reminiscent of the characters in James Joyce’s “Dubliners,” these three Irish men are not unusual, not heroes, not particularly important people. They’re just people. And the play reminds us of the beauty to be found in everyday lives, even the somewhat depressing ones.

 Jackson plays Kevin, a semi-disaffected Irish youth, moving out of his parents’ house for the first time and into a questionable roommate situation. He tells us the familiar story of a boy falling for a girl, who happens to be his friend, and who happens to be unavailable.

Webster dons the role of Dermot, a middle-aged alcoholic washing up on the shores of a dream job and ashamed of his life at home.

Green rounds out the three generations of Irishmen with Joe, a widower living in a nursing home, reflecting on choices made long, long ago.

The simple production puts the script and the actors at the forefront, keeping our attention without any razzle dazzle, which seems especially fitting for the stories of these men’s lives.

“Port Authority” is both funny and sad, occasionally bawdy, and an excellent 90 minutes of theater. It might leave you a bit downhearted in the end, but it certainly won’t leave you sorry you came.

"Port Authority" continues through Aug. 9 at Hyde Park Theatre. www.hydeparktheatre.com

 

 
 

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