An amoral young drifter. An ambitious actress. Violence and eroticism. The Man in Black is an unsparing vision of Ireland’s bleak underside.
Brian Murphy drifts into The Flowing Tide pub in Dublin from Zimbabwe. The owner, Krystian Wichowski, offers him a job. Murphy refuses, but changes his mind when he meets Wichowski’s wife, Mary. Mary’s problem, her inconvenient husband, now has a solution, one which creates many more problems.
The play’s dark tones and ambitious themes tackle delicate themes such as rape and child abuse and reach impressive moments of tension and engrossing moments of clarity. The most exciting and monumental moments are created by the solid and convincing construction of Brian, the anti-hero. Erratic and honest, Brian’s past and his actions and reactions caused by his traumas are entirely engaging for the audience, as the honesty of the character thrives.
This play was inspired by the story of my grandmother’s sisters.
My grandmother, Attracta Fanning, was the only one of her sisters to marry.
She married James, “Jemme” Fanning, a farmer from Meath.
They had the first automated dog racing track in Ireland. They also had twleve children. The third one was my Dad, Joe.
Attracta had sisters. None of them had kids. They all became nuns. One of them, “Euphrasia,” became the Mother Superior of a closed order in inner city Dublin helping the poor. The other left Ireland as a missionary to Korea and Africa.
I often wondered what happened to all those young women who disappeared into continents like Africa. Attracta did too.
She never saw her sister again after she left Ireland.