Spotlight On: Playboy of the Western World

Playboy Square


The Scranton Fringe Festival is a performing arts festival, returning for its second year September 29th – October 2nd 2016 to downtown Scranton. With over fifty productions/special events spanning twelve venues to chose from at the festival the task can seem daunting – we are here to help further introduce you to what the Fringe has to offer!

The Playboy of the Western World is a comedic romp through turn-of-the-century Ireland, written by J.M. Synge and directed by Mark Mallecoccio, who answered a few questions about this production. (Fun Scranton Fringe fact: J. M. Synge’s great nephew just happened to visit Fringe HQ during a recent event and was heartened to see this production in the Festival Guide. You can file this one under ‘it’s a small world, after all!’ or we can all accept the fact that literally EVERYONE comes to Scranton sooner or later, even relatives of an Irish playwright who passed away over a century ago. #scrantonforever )

Buy tickets to The Playboy of the Western World here.

1. Tell us about The Playboy of the Western World and your background.

Our show is called The Playboy of the Western World, and it was written by John Millington Synge in 1907. I’m the director and script adapter. While the show is generally about 90 minutes in full performance, I edited it down to a slim 60 minutes in order to meet Festival guidelines. My name is Mark Mallecoccio and I have a B.A. in Communications/Theatre from Clarks Summit University (formerly Baptist Bible College) in Clarks Summit PA. My wife a I live in Dickson City, and all of our cast is from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. Our cast is not an actual theatre company, as many of the shows in the Fringe are. Instead, we are simply a group of close friends (and a few new friends!) who decided that producing a show together would be fun, and a good challenge of our abilities. We also have cast members who are also a part of other shows in the Fringe this year. For example, my wife (who is playing Pegeen in our show), and Julia Risitano (playing Honor Blake) are also in Ghostlight Productions’ The Poe Asylum for two of their performances.

2. What inspired the submission of The Playboy… to the Scranton Fringe Festival?

Firstly, The Playboy of the Western World has been one of my favorite plays since my freshman year of college, when we studied it and other works of JM Synge. After seeing it performed by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg PA, I decided that I would one day direct the play. The Fringe Festival seemed a perfect platform upon which to produce Playboy, and after some work on editing the text for time, we submitted it for approval. The really nice thing about doing a show like Playboy of the Western World is that it is royalty free, so I can do almost anything I like in editing it.

3. Tell us more about your show.

Christopher “Christy” Mahon, a handsome young man, comes staggering into Michael James Flaherty’s pub, claiming to have killed his father. When Pegeen (Michael’s daughter) starts to fall for Christy, her fiancé Shawn Keogh makes a deal with the Widow Quin to seduce Christy so Shawn can keep Pegeen. Meanwhile, we find that Christy’s father, Old Mahon, is not actually dead, and he’s looking for revenge. Eventually, all of the lying and bragging catches up with Christy, and the town tries to lynch him. He is saved, strangely enough, by his father, and they leave town together, seemingly happy to back together and away from the “villainy and fools” of County Mayo, Ireland.

4. What other productions in the 2016 Scranton Fringe Festival are you most excited about / planning on seeing?

I’m excited to see The Poe Asylum, as my wife is a part of their show. I’m also very interested in C’era Une Volta: Folk-Tales From Italy at the library, as my heritage is deeply Italian. This is my first Fringe Festival, and I believe it is also a first for the rest of my cast.
5. In six words (no more, no less) what would you say to encourage someone to attend Playboy? 

Come experience old fashioned Irish hospitality!