Monday, September 25th, 2017...8:38 pmBrian Nickless

Humor in the Playboy of the Western World

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The part of The Playboy of the Western World that I found the most humorous was when Pegeen denied being engaged to Shawn when Widow Quin mentioned it to Christy. When I read Pegeen’sĀ first lines in the beginning of Act One I assumed she simply was uninterested in being married at all due to the way she discussed the marriage. While she seemed to ridicule Shawn, I thought her issue was the idea of marriage itself. This is totally reversed when she met Christy, whom she was totally infatuated with. Her immediate denial of the words of Widow Quin and the unexpected reversal of my expectations was what made me laugh. In addition, the fact she wanted to be more romantically involved with an admitted murderer than a benign man like Shawn also added more humor to this reversal.

If I were to stage this to make it as humorous as possible I would have made Pegeen hush the Widow Quin as soon as she mentioned her betrothal to Shawn. I would even go so far as to have her slam the door in her face, maybe adding more than a single lock for Pegeen to fasten once she rushes Widow Quin out of the door for the sake of absurdity. After Christy questions her I would have her delivery be one of immediately trying to assure him that she is completely available.


  •   Professor Seiler
    September 25th, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Brian–great ideas about how to use physical comedy / performance to bring the extended joke of Pegeen’s quick turn on her engagement to Shawn. The door slam is particularly heavy-handed, but in the best sense! This play is not always preoccupied with subtlety, after all.

  • I like the way you imagined this scene. I think it emphasizes the fact that Pegeen is basically getting married to Shawn because its something that women have to do in her society versus actually falling in love, like she is with Christy. This also plays up her infatuation with Christy, which is a stark contrast to her usual, male, and harsh qualities.

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