PHELIM Drew is a lifelong actor, performer and musician who is in his element as Joxer Daly Esq. Joxer is the loveable scrounge and refugee from O’Casey’s powerful ‘The Plough and The Stars’ for whom playwright Karl Shiels has fashioned this one-man piece of theatre, inspired by this “survivor like no other.”
Arts Page caught up with Phelim Drew as he wandered down Grafton Street. How is Dublin looking at Christmas? “Amazing,” is the response, “and yet it is strange at the moment how the divide between the haves and have-nots is so starkly present at this time of year.”
Hold that thought as he talks about the staging of his booze addled ‘Joxer Daly Esq’. “The storytelling begins as he wakes up in what I picture to be the basement of a derelict Georgian house. He wakes up in ‘the full of the horrors’ and has to while away the time until he can get a drink.
“I hope to take the audience on a journey around town, meeting some of the characters who influenced him such as Captain Boyle.”
Drew loves the humour to this play, the stories and the singing.
He describes Joxer as a functioning alcoholic who was a member of The Foresters Association. Now he finds himself unemployed when work was never harder to find in the raw bones of an emerging Ireland.
The backdrop is the 1913 Lock Out under Jim Larkin, the Easter Rising and the events of O’Casey’s original anti-war classic.
“Everybody loves Joxer even though he is flawed. He is quite knowledgeable as well and he has quotes from Yeats and Shakespeare that flow from him. All these little aphorisms are on the tip of his tongue, the bon mots by which he muddles his way into people’s consciousness.
“I like that this play looks to his back story and that is interesting in itself. We look at pivotal events in Irish history through his eyes, from the viewpoint of someone whose life is affected by them whether they like it or not.”
Book for ‘Joxer Daly Esq.’ this Friday 13 at Belltable, 8pm on venue manager www.limetreetheatre.ie