June 1, 2010By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Jun 1, 2010
THE IRISH CURSE, a wickedly funny off-Broadway play co-starring Austin Peck (ex-Brad, ATWT) closed this weekend, and I was lucky enough to catch one of the last performances!
To those wondering what "the Irish curse" entails...well, let's just say that the affliction involves Irishmen who aren't exactly blessed below the waist. And, no, I'm not talking about the size of their feet. (When I told my mother what I was going to see, I was really thankful she misheard the title as "The Irish Pub." Can you imagine her googling the phrase? I'd be grounded, and I don't even live with her!) When I bought my ticket, the seating chart led me to believe I'd be in the second or third row. Imagine my surprise when I ended up in the very first row. Yes. Me. The prude. In the front row for a play that pulled no punches when it came to talking about penis size. I had nowhere to hide! Thank goodness I'm too dark to blush! And thank goodness there was no nudity! It was all talk!
Written by Martin Casella and directed by Matt Lenz, THE IRISH CURSE is about four men who meet in a church basement for a weekly support group. When newcomer Keiran (Roderick Hill) literally comes in out of the rain, he and the audience are treated to hilarious, often touching, insights about each character's condition and how it affects their lives.
Veteran actor Dan Butler (ex-Bulldog, FRASIER) played Joseph, a finicky southerner whose wife left him for a more impressive specimen. And he had a hilarious rant about how size is the major cause of countries going to war, the root of political strife, etc. Brian Leahy's Rick was a young man prone to posturing about all the "babes" he meets, with all the bluster hiding his vulnerability. Scott Jaeck's (ex-Cain, SANTA BARBARA) Father Kevin presided over the meeting, eventually confessing how his own issues led him to the priesthood. And then there was Austin's character, Stephen...oh my. To say that I've never seen Mr. Peck this way would be an understatement! LOL! Stephen was a gay Irish cop with a very colorful vocabulary, and an equally colorful sexual history.
But here's the thing: Once I got past all the graphic talk about man parts and sex acts, I found THE IRISH CURSE to be really poignant. I think it was a really interesting look at how men can feel just as much pressure as women do to look a certain way and keep up in the sexual arena. The performances were heartfelt and powerful and I actually found myself tearing up at several points as the 90-minute show progressed. Body image isn't just a woman's issue. It's a human issue. We all feel like we don't measure up. In case of the men in THE IRISH CURSE, that was literal. And once the giggles and the "OMG!"s subsided, I was left with a lot to think about.
After the show, I made sure to tell Austin that! And I also met Bill Timoney, who was understudying Joseph and Kevin and who has a few notable soap connections himself! He played Alfred Vanderpool on ALL MY CHILDREN for years and years, and he even wrote a column for Weekly for a while. It was very cool to meet him!
And it was very cool to see Austin go to such creative er, lengths in THE IRISH CURSE! The only way this play was cursed was in its woefully short run.