Martin Casella's new comedy "The Irish Curse" tackles the male obsession with body image, masculinity, and sex
"The Irish Curse"
The Soho Playhouse
15 Vandam Street, New York, NYC
March 28th – May 31st, 2010
Tuesday - Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday 7 pm, matinees Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM
Tickets: $59. More: theirishcurse.com
Size matters to the Irish-American guys who meet every Wednesday night in a support group... for men with very small penises. Martin Casella's new comedy "The Irish Curse" examines the fundamental question on the minds of men since the beginning of time: "How do I measure up to the next guy?"
Q. First thing first – I'll give you the chance to dispel what everyone is thinking; that the play came from personal experience. True?
A. The play came from personal experience in that when I moved to New York, I heard a number of Irish-American guys complain about a little problem they had called "The Irish Curse". They were absolutely convinced they had it. I'd never heard of it before. These guys all blamed their small equipment on being Irish. I thought they felt this way was fascinating.
Martin Casella's new comedy explores big personalities and small appendages. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Q. Why now – what is it about where gender identity is at in 2010 that you feel is striking a chord with audiences?
A. Guys are now where women have always been - on the receiving end of being judged over how their bodies look. Women like to know they're not alone anymore in being conflicted over the body image issues. Men like to hear that other guys worry about things like "Am I tall enough? Am I handsome enough? Am I cut enough? Is my dick big enough?""
Q. How does "The Irish Curse" break new ground artistically?
A. It makes me very happy when women walk out of the theatre and say to each other: "I didn't know guys talk like that when they're alone! It's like being a fly on the wall. Thank you for showing us that world." I also love that individuals with other problems and physical challenges tell me they relate to what the characters onstage are going through. A blind woman who came to the show told me she felt like the guys were all talking about her and problem!
Q. How do you feel the all-star cast enlivens the work?
A. They all bring that 'larger-than-life' star quality to the show. Plus they helped us get great press and sell tickets! And finally, when they collect donations for Broadway Cares, the audience members love getting to say hello to famous people!
Q. What sort of other pop culture works is it in the vein of?
A. Langford Wilson's plays where people get together and just talk, like "Talley's Folly."
Q. What or who is inspiring you right now?
A. Rufus Wainwright, "Mad Men", The Pet Shop Boys, "The Sopranos", the novels of Anthony Trollope and George Eliot. Doris Goodwin Kearns' non-fiction book "Team Of Rivals", the students I teach at the Harvey Milk High School. They're amazing.
Q. Funniest part of the process so far?
A. There was this crazy Italian-American actor who came in to audition and then refused to read for us because he claimed he couldn't do the play because he didn't suffer from the problem the guys in the play had and it was pretty obvious and his large penis would be visible through this pants. He just kept telling us, "I can't do your play, I can't do your play." Our director finally asked him why the hell he was there? The guy didn't have an answer. He just shrugged and left.
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