At age 24, having already written six plays, Martin McDonagh introduced himself to another playwright by saying, “I’m the most important playwright in England and Ireland for the next twenty years.” McDonagh hasn’t quite gotten that far, but in the intervening fifteen years, he has managed a couple of Broadway hits — all except one of them violent, gory, and very funny capers set in western Ireland. And yet even as he branched off into screenwriting with movies like In Bruges, McDonagh wasn’t writing anything new for the stage. He hinted in interviews that his playwrighting career might be over.
That changed in January, with the announcement that a new show, A Behanding in Spokane, was to be produced in New York. And today the word comes down, via press release, that it will open directly on Broadway in March — the first of his plays to do so. It’s also the first to be set in the U.S., but don’t expect it to venture into uncharted territory. The press announcement describes Behanding as a “hilariously dark comedy” and elaborates: “Take a man searching for his missing hand, two con artists out to make a few hundred bucks, and an overly curious hotel clerk, and the rest is up for grabs.” As with his previous shows, you would probably be well advised not to sit in the front row.