A: Tom Murphy Pf: 1983, Dublin Pb: 1988; rev. 1991, 1994 G: Drama in 8 scenes S: J. P. W. King's office and living quarters, Ireland, 1980s C: 2m, 1fJ. P. W. King (‘JPW’) is a 46-year-old slovenly English therapist, promoting himself as a ‘dynamatologist’, who is separated from his wife. He is visited by an Irish Man, a builder and developer, who refuses to give his name and is prone to outbursts of violent temper and to believing that he is the great tenor Beniamino Gigli. JPW feels out of his depth, but the Irish Man insists that he wants to be treated by him. JPW mulls it over with his middle-aged promiscuous girlfriend Mona. The Irish Man comes for a third session bringing a record player and plays an aria sung by Gigli as Mephistopheles. JPW talks of his longing for a married woman (his wife?), while the Irish Man, still imagining himself as Gigli, speaks of his rejection by an Italian woman. The next day, the Irish Man arrives in desperation: his wife has left him, taking their son. JPW promises that he will soon be able to sing like Gigli. The next day, the Irish Man announces that his wife has returned, and he dismisses JPW as a charlatan. Mona reveals that she has terminal cancer and declares her love for JPW. Alone, JPW is listening to Gigli when the Irish Man arrives. He is fully ‘cured’ and thanks JPW for his treatment and urges JPW to go back to England. JPW sings Gigli's aria and leaves his office.
A: Tom Murphy Pf: 1983, Dublin Pb: 1988; rev. 1991, 1994 G: Drama in 8 scenes S: J. P. W. King's office and living quarters, Ireland, 1980s C: 2m, 1f
A complex and multilayered play, Murphy's arguably finest piece deals with the ‘mess’ of existence and how the solution derives from ‘the rising darkness of our despair’ by creating fulfilling fantasies. By expressing themselves through Gigli's passionate music, first the Irish Man then JPW transform themselves.