Posted in 1st Irish Fesitval, Irish drama, Ross Dungan

Missed connections in the sad "Life… of Eric Argyle"

Davey Kelleher and Manus Halligan in “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lucy Nuzum

That old saying about “living lives of quiet desperation” comes to mind from time to time.

In Ross Dungan’s “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters, through September 29th, it is a constant theme.

Katie Lyons, Karen Sheridan and Erica Murray in “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lucy Nuzum

The construct in “…Eric Argyle” is sort of a death council, gathered to judge him on the basis of the contents of a book he has written. That book is as disorganized — he began it on page 231 and moved on to page 656–  as the plot of the play that houses it. The lilt of the Irish has great appeal so they can say “shite-all” and still charm. Nonetheless, the story here is more than a bit murky.

Dave McEntegart and Karen Sheridan in “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” a 15th Oak production. Part of 1st Irish at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lucy Nuzum

Narration to further exposition is static, and the use of the countdown of time fails to create the intended urgency.

The cast of eight are fine, muddling gamely in and out of a variety of characters. The two Erics (Dave McEntegart as the older and James Murphy as the younger) are preeminently sad sack.

There is also background music to “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle” strumming on random occasions. The fantastically messy set, designed by Colm McNally, is dispatched for multi-purpose by the hard-working ensemble. 

For more information about “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” visit www.59e59.org.