Thursday, September 21st, 2017...7:34 pmBecca Stout

Christy the Monster

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One moment in the play that would have made me laugh if staged well is Pegeen and Shawn’s exchange when he suddenly changes his mind and decides to stay just to have Pegeen shut the door and lock him out. The sarcastic humor occurs in Pegeen’s line when she claims there is now no danger, and because Shawn would not stay before, he might as well not stay now (Synge 348-349). However, there is danger in that Christy, a man who killed his own father, is staying with her alone.

To make the audience laugh, I would stage this with Shawn’s character being very scrawny and shorter than Pegeen and Christy’s character being a tall, tattooed, and muscled man with monster-like qualities. Shawn would walk out of the door, turn around to say goodbye, but seeing Christy over Pegeen’s shoulder give a little wave, would quake with fear as he stutteringly offers to stay. Christy would smile with rows of shark teeth as Pegeen sarcastically comments about Shawn fearing the Father. Shawn’s response that staying would cause no harm would be said while shuddering in fright and backing slowly toward the door as he belatedly tries to prove to Pegeen he can be strong. When Pegeen obliviously claims she is in no danger, Christy would start to get up out of his chair. They would say the last few lines of the moment and Pegeen would slam the door on an already fleeing Shawn, turn around, and smile to Christy.


  • I think that your staging would be funny lol, but I think a little scary too; you allude to a level of suspense in your staging which I think is too in Synge’s original staging of this scene.

  • I think your instinct to make the differences between Christy and Shawn overtly visual is useful, especially when staging a play (rather than the characters existing in a novel, which can offer descriptions). The audience would probably note the contrast between Pegeen’s two male suitors more easily because of your staging.

  • Becca,
    I appreciate your attention to the physicality of the actors as they appear on stage because these details definitely engage our humor (For example, Christy as this tall, tattooed, muscular man with “monster-like qualities” that you envision). As we get to know him throughout the play, we realize that he is not this tough & dangerous man at all! I am not sure I know what you mean by this, though: “Christy would smile with rows of shark teeth.” Is this logistically possible?? A mouth piece/costume component of shark teeth? Haha. Great ideas! You would be a good stage director because you are so specific!

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 25th, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Becca–I’m very much in line with your commenters: the idea of having the actors cast to play Shawn and Christy embodying their relative stature is intriguing. For the Christy character, though, you’d have to get an actor who can project not only vanity and strength, but also a cowering dependence. Also curious about those “monster-like qualities.” Nice job.

  • I love that you mentioned Christy having tattoos and conveying Shawn as meek, “shuddering with fright,” I think that makes a great visual contrast between the two men. The tattoos and attention to Christy’s physicality definitely adds to the “toughness” Christy is trying to convey. I think Shawn asking if Pegeen would like him to stay to keep him from harm (Act.1,343) is Shawn trying to display his masculinity and (not compellingly) trying to convince Pegeen (and ven Christy) that he could protect her. I think to have this visual contrast on stage as you described it, it would be obvious that Shawn is not as brave/tough as Christy.

  • Becca- I think your ideal description of Shawn would evoke a humorous reaction in the audience. I think the contrast of Christy’s description of him being muscular and having tattoos would make for an interesting scene.

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