Thursday, September 21st, 2017...5:37 pmwatsono

Colin Firth as Christy (even though he’s British)

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By the end of Act I and opening scene of Act II, Christy is the intrigue of the entire village – attracting more attention to himself than ever before because he murdered his father. The final line of Act One, ” …two fine women fighting for the likes of me – till I’m thinking this night wasn’t I a foolish fellow not to kill my father in the years gone by”, captures a kind of dark humor that propels the plot forward and appeals to the villagers’ desire for drama as well as this audience, who similarly seeks entertainment (114).

If I directed my own production of Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, I would seek out Colin Firth to play the role of Christy. I imagine Christy as a little disheveled and uncomfortable/nervous around women because he is not used to so much attention (similar to the kind of role Colin Firth usually plays). However, I also think he would be a fitting actor for this role because he can pull off the allure too.

But, would it be too problematic to cast a British actor in a characteristically Irish performance?


  • You’re attention to this scene and its dark humor is interesting, and I agree with the fact that it draws in the audience more so to Christy’s character and gives us more insight into how he acts in certain situations. Throughout the play, it becomes obvious that he doesn’t have much experience with women and I think this moment highlights that accurately. I also love how you brought up the idea of using a British actor and the controversy that could arouse due to the English imperialism toward the Irish and the Irishman’s hate toward everything english including the language.

  • First off, I am a big Colin Firth fan so credits on that. I also think it’s hilarious that he would play the role of Christy since, as you said, Firth is as British actor. I don’t think it would be too problematic. I actually think it would be hilarious. Nice job coming up with Colin Firth to play the role as Christy.

  • Relating Colin Firth to Christy helps exaggerate the jitteriness of the character’s interactions. The perplexity of Chirsty’s anxiety/nervousness does have a comedic tone since his character is supposedly a murderer. I like how you envisioned Colin Firth and how you also noted the potential problem of casting a British actor in an Irish play.

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 25th, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Olivia–good post and important question. You know what strikes me even more than the British question you and your commenters raise? The association of Colin Firth with *gentleman* parts–Mr. Darcy, King George VI, even Mark Darcy in the _Bridget Jones_ movies. You’d be casting Colin Firth against type in more than one way.

  • I agree that Colin Firth is good with dark humor and I really appreciated your attention to detail with this small line, which I think could easily get lost in the drama but is also one of the funnier, darker, and more ironic. I think playing up the absurdity of killing your father as a way to get girls is funny, but I think saying it with complete seriousness implies a darker side to Christy’s character-it’s interesting that the casting changes the perception of the character! The question you raised about a British character playing an Irish man is an interesting one, especially considering the imperialism that informed Celtic Revival writers. I agree with you, however, that we could see the allure in the character if Colin Firth played him!

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