Thursday, September 21st, 2017...9:44 pmAlexis Wiggins

Staging “The Playboy of the Western World”

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In the end of “The Playboy of the Western World” Act 1 there is a particularly funny part that contradicts all that the audience has learned about Christy. We have been led to assume that he is is a dangerous murderer who has killed his own father. He and Pegeen are in a conversation about how strong and brave Christy is when someone knocks on the door. Christy is clearly terrified by the knock and he is described as “clinging to Pegeen” and crying aloud about all the scary things that could be at the door. If I were to stage this play I would try to make this part particularly humorous. I would direct Christy and Pegeen to be deep in talk, and have him seem very boastful and masculine when he’s talking to her before the knock on the door. The moment there is a knock, I would direct him to act extremely scared, almost like a child. He would hide behind Pegeen, peek around her and would say his line almost neurotically while trembling and shaking. He would continue to be terrified until he saw who it was, when he would physically relax. Over all I would make this part very over done not only to accentuate the comedy, but to make plane to the audience that Christy is not as brave as he says he is.


  • I too found this scene to be humorous, but it wasn’t until I read your post that I thought about how physical humor can be implemented in this scene. What do you think about that? What type of physical comedy would you stage in this scene to exaggerate what is happening?

  • I find it interesting that you use the word “child” to describe Christy when he gets scared by the knock on the door and also very accurate. We learn at the end of the play that Christy really has no ability to be independent, much like a child. Not only in this scene is he clinging to Pegeen like a lost child, but we see at the end when he comes to the conclusion to marry pegged it is not only because he thinks she is enchanting, but also because he is not capable of running off to the mainland on his own like he is persuaded to do by Widow Quin. In addition, when his father comes back for him and demands for him to come back home with him, Christy puts up a fight much like a child throwing a tantrum and ultimately yields to his father’s wishes. He is dragged away like a sulking child that didn’t get what he wanted as if he were in a mall in contemporary times and ran away from his parents because they would not let him have his way.

  • I like how you emphasize the visual comedy of this moment and go beyond just the verbal delivery of the line itself. I can really picture Christy quivering behind Pegeen, and I think that is how I would have staged the scene as well. I would love to see some specific stage direction of what it means to be “boastful” and “masculine” as well. I think that image could be hilarious. Maybe him puffing out his chest, or standing in a wide stance and leaning his hand up against a door frame could embody that attitude.

  • This is a funny post. I can see what you have in mind. I like the idea that you would have Pegeen and Christy in this deep talk and make Christy look big a tough. When Christy hears the knock on the door, I can definitely see his big body becoming very small and scared. Clearly not as tough as Pegeen thought. Very funny.

  •   Professor Seiler
    September 25th, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Lexie–your classmates beat me to it! Your good post brings out the potential for the physical comedy of this sight-gag very clearly. Now how would you direct the moment following his fright?

  • I thought this scene was one of the most funny scenes too!! I think this staging is a great idea. I think making the scene appear to be exaggerated and overdone would make the scene that more humorous!

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