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The Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland are sparsely populated, windswept and harsh. That last descriptor applies to their people as well. Pragmatic and blunt in all ways, they think nothing of referring to deformed Billy Claven as "Cripple Billy" as a matter of course. When filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty arrives on a neighboring island to make a movie about the rugged Arans and their inhabitants, the people of Inishmaan hatch uncharacteristic dreams of stardom, or at least of changed lives. Cripple Billy maintains that he's going over to try out for the movie, despite everyone's belief that he'll never amount to much more than what he is — a cripple. Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan is a darkly comedic play, sprinkled with eccentric characters, manipulative schemers and the gorgeous turns of phrase unique to Irish writers. The Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts presents The Cripple of Inishmaan at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (March 26 through April 6) at Webster Hall (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7128) on the Webster University campus. Tickets are $5 to $10.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: March 26. Continues through April 6, 2008

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