PICT Theatre Presents the Pittsburgh Premiere of A Skull in Connemara

PICT Theatre Presents the Pittsburgh Premiere of A Skull in Connemara
*One of a trilogy of stories by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh*
**Directed by Martin Giles**

Pittsburgh, PA – September 5, 2013. PICT Theatre’s fifth production of the season is the Pittsburgh premiere of Martin McDonagh’s hilarious whodunit A Skull in Connemara, one of a the Leenane trilogy of plays written by the contemporary Irish playwright. McDonagh’s dark humor features the colloquial idioms of the west of Ireland, its rugged landscape, and its even more rugged people. McDonagh wrote one of PICT’s most popular shows, The Lieutenant of Inishmore. His short film Six Shooter won an Academy Award in 2006, and he was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay for In Bruges, a feature-length film in which two hitmen hide in the Flemish city of Bruges after a problematic job.

A Skull in Connemara is directed by Martin Giles, and features James Keegan as Mick, Sharon Brady as Mary, Jason McCune as Thomas and Alec Silberblatt as Mairten.

Director Martin Giles is in his 12th season with PICT, with acting credits including The Kreutzer Sonata, Lady Windermere’s Fan, The School for Lies, Ivanov, Afterplay, The Mask of Moriarty, House & Garden, The Importance of Being Earnest, The History Boys, What the Butler Saw and The Gigli Concert, which helped earn him a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Performer of the Year award. He will also be returning to PICT in December to reprise his role as Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes & The Crucifer of Blood. For PICT, Martin directed plays for Beckett Fest, The Synge Cycle, the Pinter Celebration, the Chekhov Celebration and he wrote and directed the world premiere of Beautiful Dreamers. Other directing credits include When the Rain Stops Falling, The End of the Affair and John Gabriel Borkman for Quantum Theatre, and 800 Words for Caravan Theatre of Pittsburgh. Martin also founded and was Artistic Director of The New Group Theater, where he directed over 50 shows over 15 years. He regularly teaches acting at Carnegie Mellon University.

James Keegan returns to PICT to play Mick Dowd, a seasonal gravedigger in Connemara with a mysterious past. Keegan has been a member of the Resident Company at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse for 13 repertory seasons, where he has played more than 85 roles in over 60 productions, including the title roles in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and King Lear and Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great and The Jew of Malta. His work as Prospero in ASC’s 2011 production of The Tempest was featured in the 2012 BBC documentary, Shakespeare Uncovered that recently aired on PBS. Keegan was last seen at PICT in the 2007 performances of Julius Caesar and Stuff Happens. 

Also returning to PICT is Jason McCune, who is in his fourth season on the PICT stage. Previous PICT credits include Harvey Duff in The Shaughraun, James and Joey in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Shawn Keogh in The Playboy of the Western World, and multiple roles in The Synge Cycle. With performance credits all over the United States, Jason has also performed locally in productions at Quantum Theatre, Bricolage, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, barebones theatre and The Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Sharon Brady, although making her PICT debut, is no stranger to theatre in Pittsburgh. She was last seen at the Pittsburgh Playhouse as Mattie Fae in August, Osage County and at Pittsburgh Public Theatre as Lady in Superior Donuts. She is also an adjunct associate professor at Point Park University, where she teaches Theatre Arts. Sharon is a 20-year veteran of New York’s Off Broadway scene, most notably as a founding member of the OBIE Award winning Cucaracha Theatre.

Alec Silberblatt makes his PICT debut. Alec is a Pittsburgh native with performance credits at Pittsburgh Public Theater, Hartford TheaterWorks, Cincinnati Outdoor Classics, Boulder Fringe Festival and MCC Theater’s FreshPlay Festival. His play Living With Other People will be produced this spring in New York with the Middle Voice Theater Company, where he is a company member.

To celebrate the opening of this Irish comedy, PICT is pleased to welcome the Ceili Club dance ensemble, accompanied by live musicians playing traditional Irish instruments, who will perform in front of the Stephen Foster Memorial beginning at 7pm. The ensemble, led by artistic director Jim Guay, will perform individual figures from set dances from Connemara as well as from the area around Galway. Accompanying the dancers will be Evan Kenepp playing uilleann pipes, Rich Rayburg playing bodhran, and Vince Burns on fiddle.


For one week each autumn, Mick Dowd is hired to disinter the bones in certain sections of his local cemetery to make way for the new arrivals. As the time approaches for him to dig up the bones of his own late wife, strange rumors regarding his involvement in her sudden death seven years ago begin to resurface. Strong language and situations.

PICT Theatre (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre)  was founded in 1996 to diversify the region’s theatrical offerings by providing Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania audiences with high-quality, text-driven, affordable productions of classical theatre and the works of classical and contemporary Irish playwrights and to significantly improve employment opportunities for local talent in all facets of theatrical presentation and production.  PICT is a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) affiliated with Actors’ Equity Association, and a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. PICT is the Professional Theatre in Residence at the University of Pittsburgh and PICT productions at The Charity Randall and Henry Heymann Theatres are presented in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh – Department of Theatre Arts.

FACT SHEET –  A Skull in Connemara by Martin McDonagh
Directed by Martin Giles

The Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial
4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Cast: James Keegan, Sharon Brady, Jason McCune and Alec Silberblatt

Design Team: Gianni Downs (scenic design); Rachel Parent (costume design); Chris Popowich (lighting design); Joe Pino (sound design); Johnmichael Bohach (properties)

Performance Schedule:

Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 2pm
Tuesday, September 24 at 7pm
Saturday, September 28 at 2pm and 8pm

First Week:
Thursday and Friday, September 12 & 13, 8:00 p.m. – Previews                                  Saturday, September 14, 8:00 p.m. – Opening Night
Sunday, September 15, 2:00 p.m. – Talkback following performance

Second Week:
Wednesday* – Saturday, September 18- 21, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 22, 2:00 p.m.

Third Week:
Tuesday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. (Early Tuesday** performance)
Wednesday- Friday, September 25- 27, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 28, 2:00 p.m. – Matinee performance
Saturday, September 28, 8:00 p.m. – Final performance

*Pre-show lecture begins at 7:00 pm in The Charity Randall Theatre.
**Early Tuesday includes 6:00 pm happy hour – free food buffet + drink specials — hosted at Joe Mama’s Restaurant, 3716 Forbes Ave. 15213)

PICT Special Events   (Free of Charge)

Opening Night Festivities
Saturday, September 14.  Prior to the performance, the Ceili Club Dance Ensemble with live musical accompaniment will entertain patrons in front of the Stephen Foster Memorial.

Following the performance, PICT invites all opening night patrons to attend the reception with complimentary hors d’ouevre and an opportunity to greet the cast and artistic staff. 

Sunday, September 15, following the 2:00 p.m. performance includes PICT producing artistic director Alan Stanford, Martin Giles, director and the cast of A Skull in Connemara

Pre-Show Lecture
Wednesday, September 18, 7:00 p.m.
Martin Giles, Director, discusses the dark humor in A Skull in Connemara.

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