Although brief, the play is well crafted, its speech a-crawl in Irish idiom and aggrandizement. Hamell, as the sweetly cowed son, and Meleady, as the feistier father, nail the physical comedy of the pair’s age- and information-impaired, partially limbless trudge toward possible if nebulous progeny. (Meleady’s matter-of-fact manipulation of his prosthesis with the raggedy cricket bat he also uses as a cane is priceless.) And Carroll, first as a squinty old bat railing against modernity in general and the US in particular (“They give ’em guns in America, before they’re out of nappies”), then as the ancient unmade bed of a village priest, etches characterizations that are hilarious yet also humane. Exactingly tended by Tír Na, Trad is a vaudeville routine that somehow blooms into a poem.
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