In 1897 Edward Arlington Robinson published his account of the "clean favored, and imperially slim," but suicidal Richard Cory. Somewhat later, Paul Simon with Art Garfunkle mused on him in song. Now, Kevin Daly takes the thoughtful process a generation later and into the present with his play about Richard’s son, "Jimmy Cory," at the Wells Metz Theatre.
Jimmy Cory, Winston Fiore, is a young factory worker trying to eke out a living for himself and his pregnant wife Maria, Zoe O’Dea. He’s also supporting his dim witted younger brother Bobby, Kelly Lusk. In Daly’s play, Richard Cory was an accountant and partner for the smooth talking local gangster James "Flip" Carrigan, Chris Hatch. In addition to his other burdens, Jimmy is working to live down the tainted memory of his father. It’s a memory that he’s reminded of daily by his bankrupted next door neighbor Frank, Matt Gripe. Rounding out the cast are Ilan Mollick as the neighborhood girl who teases poor Bobby and David Sheehan as a crooked cop who used to be a friend of Jimmy’s.
The production of "Jimmy Cory" benefits from an evocative set by Tim Borden, costumes that range nicely from the mundane to the theatrical by Robbie Stanton and well thought out direction by Murray McGibbon. Playwright Kevin Daly has given each of his characters interesting and detailed parts to play and each is memorable. Edward Arlington Robinson ends his poem about Jimmy’s father with the mysterious stark news that Richard Cory "Went home and put a bullet through his head." Paul Simon’s ironic song takes place in the shadow of the upcoming suicide, but ends with a chorus of "I wish that I could be Richard Cory." Kevin Daly’s play about Richard’s son doesn’t solve the mystery, nor engage in the irony. It expands on and creatively embraces the darkness of both in what seems to be a final fade to black.
Performances of Kevin Daly’s "Jimmy Cory" in the Wells-Metz Theatre continue each evening this week at seven-thirty. There is also a matinee Saturday at two. You can find this review and an interview with the playwright on our web site at WFIU dot org.