Pat Shortt to take lead in 'genius' Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery

Pat Shortt as the gravedigger in A Skull in Connemara

Pat Shortt as the gravedigger in A Skull in Connemara

COMEDIAN and actor Pat Shortt has a very exciting theatre role on the horizon.

The Limerick-based performer is starring in Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara, a black comedy centring around the local gravedigger, Mick Dowd.

The play, by the acclaimed writer and director behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, will hit the stage in Galway later this month, with dates in Dublin in August. It is directed by Andrew Flynn.

Pat Shortt is currently in rehearsals for his portrayal of Mick Dowd, a performance that is guaranteed to flex the Tipperary native’s talent for funeral humour.

“I play the gravedigger, whose wife died suddenly seven and half years earlier,” Pat told the Limerick Leader.

“Mick has a job every year of digging up the bones to make room for the next set of burials. This year, he has to dig up where his wife is buried.”

In Mick’s orbit are a mix of prying neighbours and friends. Rumours fly that Mick had some involvement in her death.

“The great thing that Martin [McDonagh] is known for is his stories, plots, and how he manages to construct a play,” said Pat.

“He’s just a genius. How he just brings the story along with wonderful characters that are vicious, evil and wonderfully grotesque, but you still care for them.”

“It’s hilariously funny. The characters are viciously dark, and at certain moments, like when Mick is digging up the grave, you really feel for him,” said Shortt.

“I worked with Martin many years ago, myself and Jon Kenny did the Lonesome West in 1998. I also did the Cripple of Inishmaan in 2014,” he added.

London-born McDonagh is one of the most celebrated living Irish playwrights. The Oscar-winner (in 2006 for Six Shooter) cemented his fame last year, having directed Three Billboards, which itself won two Oscars.

The show is on in Galway’s Town Hall Theatre from Thursday, June 21 to Saturday, June 23, at 8pm, with a 3pm matinee on June 30. See