We’re just five days into fall, but it’s already a boozy Christmas at Richmond Hill Players in Geneseo.

The next play is “The Seafarer” (2006), by Irish playwright Conor McPherson. The show — directed by Justin Raver of Kewanee — will be presented Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 5-15 at the Barn Theatre in Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  

Set on dreary Christmas Eve in a coastal suburb north of Dublin, the black comedy follows James “Sharky” Harkin who, having lost his job, has returned home to care for older brother Richard, recently blinded in an accident.

Bobby Metcalf, left, Bruce Carmen, Matthew McConville, Gary Talsky, and Patrick Kelley in the new Richmond Hill production, “The Seafarer.”

While Sharky battles to stay off the booze over the holiday, irascible brother Richard is determined to celebrate the season, inviting old drinking buddies Ivan and Nicky to the house to play poker. But Nicky brings along a stranger – the mysterious Mr. Lockhart – who reminds Sharky of a long past meeting they had on exactly this date, years ago.

With the addition of this figure from Sharky’s haunted past, the friendly poker game takes a sinister turn; soon it’s clear that Sharky may be playing for his very soul. The Seafarer is at once a dark comedy, a chilling story about the sea, Ireland and the power of myth, and a tale of redemption by one of Ireland’s best playwrights, according to an RHP release.

The play is rated “mature” for language and alcohol use. 

The cast features Matt McConville, Bruce Carmen (both Geneseo), Pat Kelley (Kewanee), Bobby Metcalf (Davenport) and Gary Talsky (Spring Valley). 


A 2007 New York Times review of the Broadway debut of the play said: “Everyone in this dark and enthralling Christmas fable of despair and redemption descends at some point to oceanic depths of drunkenness, including a sinister fellow who is, shall we say, not of this world.

“Yet as written and directed, the five carefully shaped characters of ‘The Seafarer’ are blessedly free of the blurry, slurry clichés of acting intoxicated that can drive a sensitive theatergoer to, well, drink,” the review said. “Directed by Mr. McPherson, one of the finest ensembles to grace a Broadway stage in years uncovers the soul-defining clarity within the drunkard’s haze. Alcohol may be a great leveler, but as these men confirm with spectacular style, it is also a great individualizer.”

On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sundays are 3 p.m. matinees with the doors opening at 2.

Tickets are $12, available by calling the Richmond Hill box office at 309-944-2244 or by visiting the website HERE.

An audio description performance will be held Friday, Oct. 6.  Richmond Hill also offers Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), which can be requested at the time that reservations are made.