, Salem, MA


October 17, 2013

A Couple of Blaguards

Larcom Theatre hosts light-hearted production by McCourt brothers


A blaguard, Malachy once told an interviewer, is “a charming, rowdy rogue.” The first act of “A Couple of Blaguards” is set in Limerick, and the second in New York.

The production notes call for a table, two chairs, some photographic backdrops, and two pints of Guinness “with a creamy head.”

“Frank wrote the first act and a half, and Malachy wrote the second half of Act 2,” said Howard Platt, who plays Malachy in the current production.

Platt, a veteran actor of films and sitcoms — including “Sanford and Son” and “The Bob Newhart Show” — has also produced the show several times.

“The way it weaves together, it’s kind of ingenious really,” he said. “It falls together in a very natural way. What Frank does, in the first act, he kind of introduces the various characters played by me.”

“The mayor of Limerick is involved, and that leads into First Communion,” Conroy said. “Then there’s a scene with the schoolteacher, learning the catechism. We present some of the women that they encountered as kids, in situations like a funeral, for example, how they behaved in a funeral. They have a lot of fun with religion in Limerick.”

Platt and Conroy first appeared together in this production of “Blaguards” in 1999.

“The only difficulty we have with this show is sometimes Jarlath isn’t available,” Platt said. “He’s very cued in to the humor in these lines. ‘Say it, don’t play it.’ It’s not required. Jarlath brings great reality to what he does.”

Conroy, who was born in Galway, Ireland, and has appeared in many Broadway productions, thinks “A Couple of Blaguards” is unique.

“There aren’t too many brothers that sat down and wrote a piece for themselves,” he said. “It moves through what they have encountered, and what they represent there is very accurate.”

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