Today, I saw A Man of No Importance at Mercyhurst University’s Taylor Litter Theater. The musical takes place in the mid-1960s in Dublin, Ireland. It tackles issues such as religion, homosexuality, and societal pressures.
The musical is about a Catholic man named Alfie Byrne that likes to direct plays, and he meets a young woman that recently moved to Dublin and invites her to be the lead in the most recent play that he chose to direct. The man’s sister has been pressuring him to get married over the past several years, and when she finds out about the woman, she tries to set them up together. However, he is gay and uninterested in dating the woman, but he has never told anyone this. At the end of the play, Alfie reveals that he is gay to a man that he met at a pub who showed romantic interest in him. It ends up that the man was not gay and that he was trying to attract gay men so that he and his friends could beat them up. The play ends with Alfie revealing that he is gay to his strongly Catholic friends, and they all decide to support him, despite their beliefs about gay people.
This musical tackles a lot of important issues that are deeply personal to a lot of people, and it does a good job of portraying the issues in the past but in a way that are still relevant today. One of the issues it tackles is the role of religion in people’s lives. The Catholic faith important to all of the characters, but they are not perfect and sinless. For example, one of the characters catches a woman cheating on her husband. Another issue that it tackles is homosexuality. The characters are strongly Catholic and believe that homosexuality is a sin. However, when they discover that Alfie is gay, they decide to support him and continue to be his friend despite these beliefs and societal pressure to ostracize or bully him for his sexuality. These issues continue to be relevant today because people are still sometimes ostracized or bullied for their sexualities.
The set for this musical was unique, and the lighting was effective for carrying out the story. The set remained the same throughout the entire show, except wooden chairs were added or removed, depending on where the scene was taking place. The unique part of the set was that the musicians were on stage with the actors and visible to the audience, but they were in the background with dim lighting. The lighting allowed the audience to focus on the actors, and the changes in lighting helped convey the mood in each scene.
I enjoyed this musical a lot because it tackled relevant issues and because the actors made it enjoyable. The show had several unique elements, such as the set. I liked how there was a simple set, but the locations of the scenes changed based on where the actors placed the wooden chairs. Despite the lack of change in the set, it was still convincing that the scene were taking place in different places.