Inis Nua Theatre Company’s decade of producing plays from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales has provided not only entertaining performances, but revealed sensibilities different from our own.
Consider Paul Meade and David Parnell’s Trousers, which at first seems to fit a familiar Odd Couple sitcom groove. In 2006, Dermot (Jared Michael Delaney) is a fastidious Dublin bachelor who enjoys herbal tea and yoga. College chum Mick (Adam Rzepka) appears, bedraggled and distraught, dumped by his wife. Mick, the archetypal slob, disrupts Dermot’s tidy, lonely life, and stirs up old memories.
Seventeen years before, the boys spent a summer in New York City. Director Tom Reing’s production flows effortlessly between periods, spicing the transitions with Janelle Kauffman’s whimsical video projections and Aaron Oster’s inspired music choices. The friendship’s end, precipitated by a girl, gradually plays out, even as their new adult relationship develops.
Trousers isn’t a punchline comedy, but rather a character study about how men grow up. Its modest themes are achieved through sincere and detailed acting, a montage of lovely moments. The boys’ plaintive rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” — Dermot on guitar, Mick playing harmonica, both singing — speaks volumes.
The play ends easily, maybe too neatly for Americans accustomed to dramatic profundity. But nothing’s lost in translation in Inis Nua’s fine production: Life’s difficulties are real, Trousers shows, but sometimes the best solutions are simple.
Through Feb. 23, $25-$30, Off-Broad Street Theater, 1636 Sansom St., 215-454-9776, inisnuatheatre.org.
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