Port Authority

writers theatre
Port Authority

Directed by William Brown

At Writers Theatre Books on Vernon Bookstore

“Maybe there isn’t a soul for every person in the world.

Maybe there’s just two. One for people who go with the flow,

and one for all the people who fight,” – Kevin from Port Authority

Fabulous writing with superb acting equals a wonderful night of Irish storytelling.

Conor McPherson’s 2001 Port Authority is a three person monologue play that is an example of exquisite writing filled with three generations of authentic contemporary Irish slang,  vernacular, and generational insights.  Using the intimate space at Writers Theatre’s original space at the Books on Vernon bookstore, director William Brown has assembled three actors who are up to the challenge of painting pictures of their story with only McPherson’s words and their verbal and physical dexterity. The result is a mesmerizing theatrical experience. This riveting drama is an interlocking three part story told directly to the audience.

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Kevin (Rob Fenton) is a young man who moves out from his family’s Dublin home to share digs with two alcohol-soaked mates and a beautiful young woman with whom he quickly gets a crush on.  Dermot (John Hoogenakker) is a middle aged laborer who somehow lands a dream job that he is totally unqualified for. Joe (Patrick Clear) is a widower living in a retirement home who receives a mysterious package in the post that touches a suppressed memory.

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As the three tell their stories filled  with poignancy, Irish humor, and spirited humanity,  we learn about these ordinary souls. Their lost loves, big dreams and the consequences of even their smallest choices  they made are deftly presented by these glib performers told in their richly authentic Irish brogues.

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Rob Fention depicts Kevin’s  adventurousness of youth; John Hoogenakker presents the self-doubting man who hides in booze while Joe felts regret that he never went for the woman he lusted for.  Each of these men tells us of their ordinariness as manifested in their admitting to being “one’s who go with the flow” rather than being “one’s who fight.” That becomes McPherson’s definition of an ordinary man. There is both sadness and honesty in the three stories. Listening to these three fabulous acts present McPherosn’s almost lyrical vernacular dialogue, we can’t  help but get thoughts of our own regrets from our decision to ‘going with the flow’ when we should have fought for life’s treasures. Fenton, Hoogenakker, and Clear gave a master class on Irish story telling and stage acing.  This is a 100 minute theatrical event not to be missed!

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: November 7, 2013

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout  the Port Authority page at

At Writers Theatre at the Books on Vernon 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe,IL, call 847-242-6000,, tickets $35 -$70, Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, Wednesdays at 7:30 pm with select 2 pm matinees, Thursdays 7 Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 6 pm, running time is 1 hour, 40 minutes without intermission, through February 16, 2014

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