Sheridan's work is too great a treasure to merely be relegated to period status. So Jerome McDonough has remolded it for young contemporary audiences.
Sheridan's work is too great a treasure to merely be relegated to period status. So Jerome McDonough has remolded it for young contemporary audiences. The script has been renamed and so have the characters, retaining the Sheridan-era tradition of names which suggest, often ironically, the nature of the individual. The hilariously misguided speaker, Mrs. Malaprop, becomes Lexicahna Merriam-Webster. Captain Jack Absolute (a.k.a. Ensign Beverley) evolves into Lieutenant Peerliss Ahner and his alter-ego, Corporal Manov Skrupulls, and on and on. Many Sheridan characters have become much younger in Arrivals, a McDonough tradition. The chafing and rage which arose from generational differences in the original is refocused to the resentment and fire which results when personal control must be yielded to one only slightly older than oneself. All the rich plot elementsethe deceptions to keep love alive, the lies to keep the money coming in, the self-centered arrogance which inevitably results in self-humiliation and the sacred belief that love does, indeed, conquer all still bounce everywhere dressed in a party mixture of the classic and the new. That which remains of the original playethe great percentage of the scripteis a monument to Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The other stuff, McDonough says, is my fault. Unit set.