The love and laments of three generations of men will be revealed in Fishtown Players Theater’s production of “Port Authority” over the next two weekends in Gloucester.

Written by Irish playwright and storyteller Conor McPherson, the three-man cast includes a father-and-son team, Michael McNamara, a founder of the Fishtown Players, and his son, Maximilian, and Rory O’Connor, a Dublin native who’s made Cape Ann his home.

“A modern Irish master storyteller, McPherson always delves into the mystical and the ineffable within the everyday,” said Michael McNamara. 

The play, which is staged at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Gloucester, is a series of monologues.

“There is a young man who represents youth and all its travails and what lies ahead — and the regrets that are already forming. There is the middle-aged man with dashed hopes, and an older man looking back,” McNamara said. “The play is about what really matters in life and what sustains you.” 

He described McPherson, an award-winning playwright, as a poet of the people. The Dublin-born playwright has earned high accolades from American critics for his use of language, and for the provocative themes and depth in his stories that bring out the intricacies of the human condition.

“His works are so beautiful and compelling. I see myself in the character I play and in people I know. (McPherson) finds the poetic in the everyday in a way that very few people can see. His plays are always an eye opener. You are so engaged by the material, which is written as prose but it comes through as poetry,” said McNamara, an actor of more than 40 years. 

This is the third McPherson play produced by the Fishtown Players, which previously staged “The Weir” and “The Seafarer.”

The forthcoming production is directed by Jay DiPrima, who holds a doctorate in educational theater from New York University, and is also a visiting assistant professor in drama education at Endicott College and Fitchburg State University. DiPrima has worked with the McNamaras and O’Conner in earlier productions.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with these three very unique actors,” he said. “They each have compelling stories and the challenge is to engage the audience in completing the visual gestalt of what they share. They are ‘cast’ not only as active, imaginative listeners, but as confidantes in sharing the secrets and burdens of the characters.”

DiPrima described the collection of monologues that comprises the play as a “musical composition.”

“Each actor is a unique instrument with his own vocal tone qualities,” he said. “We play with varying rhythms, beats and dynamics to help create our stories.”

O’Connor plays the character of Dermot, who is described as the comic center of the show; Dermot is mistakenly hired for a job for which he is not qualified.

McNamara, 71, who plays the older widower, said it is a special experience to perform with his son, Maximilian, now 27.

Maximilian plays the role of Kevin, a young man who is living on his own for the first time, and experiences unrequited love and other realities of the adult world. 

“My character in this play has no idea what he wants to do in life. He’s living in an apartment, drinking and meeting girls, but not overly ambitious,” Maximilian said.

But unlike the character he portrays, Maximilian has found success in his 20s and plans to move to Los Angeles to further his acting career. After graduating from the University of Vermont and interning for Academy Award-nominated film producer Sarah Green, Maximilian was a featured actor in Richard Linklater’s Golden Globe-winning film, “Boyhood,” and has been cast in a supporting role in Screen Gems’ upcoming film “Cadaver.”

But for now, even with the West Coast on his horizon, Maximilian has immersed himself in the play in which he shares the stage with his father, whose love of acting inspired him to take a chance in the film industry.

“The character my father is playing is older and you are thinking about the things that will come,” he said. “There are emotional forces confronting you, and you’re wondering what lies ahead.”

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or at


What: Fishtown Players Theater presents Conor McPherson’s “Port Authority”

When: 7:30 p.m., Jan. 27, 28 and Feb. 4, 5; 3 p.m., Jan. 29 and Feb. 5.

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 10 Church St., Gloucester

Admission: $15 general, $10 senior citizens and students; cash or check, only.

Information: 978-515-7957

Trending Video

Recommended for you