The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Northwestern University

Directed by Adam Goldstein

Lighting Design by Becca Jeffords

Scenic Design by William Boles

Costume Design by Sally Dolembo

Photography by Sarah JHP Watkins

Design Statement

The darkness is never far away from Maureen. It clings to the rafters and nestles in the corners of the damp, old house. Even with the sash of the window thrown wide, the little opening to the hills of Leenane does little to aid against the gloom that envelopes the Folan home. It hangs about the air, thick and moist. It clings to their clothing. Even with her eyes closed she can feel the darkness lingering with a chill that reaches to her very bones. Maureen rattles about the house like a ghost, existing in the same realm as her mother but not really seeing her. Not wanting to see her. The warm coals of love no longer burn bright in the hearth of this home. What warmth once existed between the two women has been twisted into something mean and harsh.

Pato is an unexpected breeze that blows fresh air through the home, reminding Maureen what it is to live and to love. Stealing into their home with Maureen one night after a party, he imbues the room with a warmth that was never there before. For once life and laughter light up the kitchen and catch in Maureen's heart, promising her better tomorrows.

Mag is caught off guard by the sudden appearance of a man in her home. Bright, crisp morning sunlight spills through the kitchen window the following morning. It's a momentary respite from the usual chilliness that pervades the Folan home. But when Mag is faced with the man her daughter invited over for the night, all of the warmth seems to evaporate with the morning mist. Hostility once again reigns supreme and Pato is caught between the feuding women. In spite of this he promises to return to Maureen once he leaves for England.

In London warm sunlight filters through the window, washing over Pato and into the space like warm golden rays of hope. Mag stands sentry to her home, shuttering her household away from Pato's influence. She destroys Pato's letters and attempts to sever the connection between him and her daughter.

Light from the stove burns hot like Maureen's rage when she discovers her mother's meddling. Without thinking she lashes out, killing her mother, but it does not free her from Mag's grip or reunite her with Pato. The light that is Pato is out of her life forever, and Maureen is consumed by darkness.