The pithy, poignant and painfully humorous | VailDaily.com
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The pithy, poignant and painfully humorous

Andrew Harley
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Frank and Malachy McCourt swagger through the desolate wealth of the Vail Valley with a blustery and hearty, non-fictional drama flaunting abundant tales of the terribly poor.

For those who haven’t versed themselves with the McCourt canon, “A Couple of Blaguards” presents a vivid feel for the overwhelming poverty Frank and Malachy experienced in their homeland of Ireland. A piercing wit and liveliness mine irresistible comedy from the utter tragedy within the autobiographical vignettes.

The play calls for two actors and spans from the McCourts’ Irish childhoods through their separate journeys to America.

“This story of their childhood is kind of vaudeville-like,” said booking agent Glenn M. White.

Malachy and Mickey Kelly act in the productions they can, while Jarlath Conroy and Howard Platt make most of the dates as the touring cast. Malachy and Kelly have made a special effort to act at the Vilar Center on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in Beaver Creek.

Malachy has traditionally been credited as an actor, but recently published best-selling novel “A Monk Swimming.” Malachy’s resume includes plays like “Da,” “Inherit the Wind,” “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” “Mass Appeal” and “Remembrance.” He has been a guest on The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin and Dick Cavett, acted in television shows, and appeared in films like “The Field,” “Green Card,” “Reversal of Fortune,” “The Brinks Job,” “The Molly Maguires” and “January Man.”

Malachy’s brother, Frank, laid the foundation for the literary McCourts with his globally-prolific memoir, “Angela’s Ashes” – which garnered a Pulitzer Prize and remained on the New York Times best-seller list for more than 100 weeks before it was adapted into a movie. Frank released his second book, ” ‘Tis,” in 1999.

Platt CO-produces and directs the show, and, after more than 32 years in show business, he has produced in such stage productions as “Driving Miss Daisy,” “I’m not Rappaport,” “A … My name is Alice,” “The Nerd” and “Pump Boys and Dinettes” – which currently holds the record for longest-running musical in Illinois. Some people also know Platt from his acting in film and television, including roles in “Sanford and Son” and “The Rock.”

Steve McGraw also produces the play. His accolades include a Christopher Award for writing the teleplay “Miles from Nowhere” and a second-place award at The Breckenridge Film Festival for his screenplay “Pendragon.” McGraw owns and operates a cabaret theater in New York called Steve McGraw’s, which has presented two shows like “Forbidden Broadway” and “Forever Plaid.”

While “A Couple of Blaguards” calls for only two actors, other spare categories include the props, which largely consist of a table, two chairs and a couple of shawls.

“A Couple of Blaguards” comes to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek on Sunday evening at 7:30.

AT A GLANCE:

Green, White and Blaguard

What: A Couple of Blaguards

When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Center for the Arts, Beaver Creek

Cost: $42

Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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