There was always a second girl. Always. After the great famine in Ireland, more women than men emigrated to other countries, many, many of them to the USA. They came because someone before them, usually another woman, sent money back to Ireland to support the family left behind and also sponsored those coming over. There were sisters, aunts, great aunts, grandmothers, godmothers. Sometimes, it was a brother or uncle. But a second girl from Ireland always followed another one.
This production of Ronan Noone’s play was directed by Campbell Scott ( why am I the last to know his parents were George C Scott and Colleen Dewhurst…really, the last?) anyway it is a superb production and getting a lot of buzz in Boston theatre circles.
The play unfolds in the kitchen of the summer house of the tragic Tyrone family. Yes, that Tyrone family from “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”.
Bridget has left a son behind in Ireland ( who,we might add, thinks she is his aunt) and works as the maid of all work for the Tyrones. She has brought her niece Kathleen to work with her. Kathleen emigrates on the Titanic, surviving, but haunted by the screams of the children she heard dying that night. Lastly there is The recently widowed Jack the mechanic/chauffeur, who is in love with Bridget, despite her drinking and self destructive behavior. Kathleen’s fiancé in Ireland gives her the big heave ho, happy that she survived the sinking, but unwilling to wait for her return to marry him. The trio spar and spite each other, but also support each other during their own “long day”. The play goer does not need to be familiar with O’Neill’s masterpiece, it stands by itself.
(The set itself is a gem, including running water in the sink and a working stove that produces real bacon and eggs, and roast chicken. You can smell the food cooking and see the steam rising from the plates! )