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Irish Classical play explores familiar story from a different angle

Last summer, theater patrons flocked to the Irish Classical Theatre Company’s production of “Da,” Hugh Leonard’s popular autobiographical play about his complicated relationships with his father and his mentor. Even before the box office returns came in, theater co-founder Vincent O’Neill and his staff decided to put “A Life” on the current season, banking on the fact that theatergoers would be hungry for more.

The focus of “A Life” shifts from the main character’s adoptive father, Da, to his mentor, a civil servant named Drumm. Their relationship, which begins as a positive one, eventually deteriorates as the protagonist grows older.

“It’s tracking the life of somebody who has really cut himself off from society in terms of having incredibly high standards of integrity and behavior, and they’re so high that he finds it difficult to mingle with people,” O’Neill said. “At the end of his life, he gets ill and he looks back on his life. It’s an evaluation of a life and what our values are as we go through our lives.”

The show opens tonight and runs through June 30 in the Andrews Theatre (625 Main St.) under the direction of Fortunato Pezzimenti. It features O’Neill, Josephine Hogan, Gerry Maher, Joe Liolos, Genevieve Lerner, Patrick G. McGee, Jamie Nablo and Colleen Gaughan. Tickets are $34 to $42, with more info at 853-4282 or

– Colin Dabkowski