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The 'Beauty' of Oregon Stage Works

The Beauty Queen of Leenane" opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, — Sept. 30, at Oregon Stage Works in Ashland's A Street Market Place. Martin — McDonagh's prize-winning drama limns the joys, sorrows, laughter and menace — of life in the forbidding landscape of western Ireland.

A Londoner just 24 at the time, McDonagh rocketed to fame — when the dark comedy had its premiere in Galway's tiny Druid Theatre and — later moved to London's West End.

The play depicts the bitter conflict between a woman teetering — on the edge of middle age and her adder-tongued mother. The wit and rhythms — of McDonagh's dialogue was a hit with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. — A New York production won four Tony Awards, including one for best drama. —

By the ripe old age of 27, McDonagh, who cultivates a — bad boy image, had four plays simultaneously on London stages. His plays — combine manic energy and physical violence in a way that is both hilarious — and shocking. According to one London critic, "McDonagh's treatment of — rural life in Ireland is not especially reverential."

Bruce Hostetler, who directed OSW's recent reading of — "Nickel and Dimed," will direct. He served three seasons as an assistant — producer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and mounted "Driving Miss — Daisy" for Actors? Theatre. He has taught at Carnegie Mellon, and the — University of California at Santa Cruz.

Heading the cast is Caroline Shaffer, whose last OSW appearance — was in the reading of "Nickel and Dimed." She has worked with many regional — theaters, including three seasons with OSF, where this season she understudied — roles in "The Royal Family" and "Humble Boy." She staged "The Weir" and — "Panama" for OSW.

Brandy Carson will take on her fourth role with OSW. After — a career in television and film in Los Angeles and New York, she acted — in "Inspecting Carol," "Lettice and Lovage" and the recent "Waiting for — Godot."

Cast member Shad Willingham is completing his second year — at OSF. This year he was seen in "The Visit" and "Much Ado about Nothing." — Willingham has acted frequently on television.

Rounding out the cast is Colin Mullane, an Ashland resident — making his acting debut. Born in Limerick, Ireland, Mullane studied business. — During rehearsals for OSW's "The Weir," he was pressed into service as — a dialect coach to make sure the players in that comedy sounded like Galway — boyos.

"Beauty Queen of Leenane" will run at 8 p.m. Thursdays — through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 7. Tickets are $15 at — Grocery Outlet in Medford and the Music Coop in Ashland. Call 482-2334. — Previews (held Monday and Wednesday, Sept. 27 and 29) are $10.