(Lauren Collins-Hughes’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/28.)
“You drink here, aye?” an outsider named Ian asks Jimmy, the scruffy regular he’s come to meet in a Belfast pub. The look that flickers across Ian’s face says it’s a disquieting choice.
With its couple of taps and its video poker machine, this ordinary bar is seemingly as good a spot as any to have a pint and watch a match on TV. But for these two middle-age men, each of them walking carnage, it will always be the site of the horror that detonated there the summer they were 16, when the Troubles roiled Northern Ireland and they were on opposite sides.
It is difficult to imagine a piece of theater more perfectly suited to our jittery, antagonistic American moment than “Quietly,” Owen McCafferty’s rage-filled, wounded, mournful play about terrorism, civil war and the damage that remains after the hatred cools. Directed by Jimmy Fay, this delicately acted production from the Abbey Theater in Dublin arrives on the stage of the Irish Repertory Theater like Dickens’s ghost of Jacob Marley, dragging the chains of sins committed long ago.