Losers and Winners in Love, Irish Style

Readers Theatre Repertory takes a trip to Ireland on March 11th and 12th with its production of “Lovers: Losers” and “Lovers: Winners,” by Brian Friel. Directed by Mary McDonald-Lewis, “Losers” will perform on Friday, and “Winners” on Saturday — with both evenings set to music by acclaimed fiddler Brongaene Griffen.

“Our evenings are one hour long, perfect for each play,” says McDonald-Lewis. “Both tales are classic Friel: a clear-eyed, heartbroken, affectionate look at the human heart.” Written as companion pieces, “Losers” and “Winners” can be performed separately or together. “By staging each, our audience can see one on Friday, and the second on Saturday,” says McDonald-Lewis, “Or just pick one. But we hope they come to both!”

The older lovers in “Losers” are still passionate, but must face the pain their life has brought them. In “Winners” a young couple prepares for their final school exams, their wedding, and the birth of their baby… but fickle Irish fate has something else in store.

Best known for “Dancing at Lughnasa” and “Translations,” Brian Friel is a prolific, lauded Irish playwright, producing thought-provoking work since 1959. Many of his stories were set in the fictional town of Ballybeg, where the characters in this month’s production could easily be found.

Of fiddler Griffin, a Northwest favorite, the Portland Tribune wrote, “When Brongaene plays her fiddle she plays with all the ornamentation and style of the best Irish traditional fiddlers, but with a more strident sound. You can always feel the Old-Time undertones coming through which gives her playing its own je ne sais quoi.”

Cast includes Peter Armetta, Suzanne Owens-Duval, Christine Shields, Micki Selvitella, Tom Slater and Beth Sobo.

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