As the yammering neighbor, Wickwire does her best work in the second act. The actress is something of a McDonagh specialist these days, having played this same role in Stage West's production. She also was stunning some years back as Mag, the undermining mother opposite Julie Painter's old-maid daughter in Collin College's Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Skull, Leenane and The Lonesome West make up one of McDonagh's two Irish-themed trilogies. Those six plays, plus The Pillowman, were written, all or in part, during a rush of creativity in 1994, when the playwright was only 24. Still shy of 40, McDonagh has written no other plays since. Instead he's moved on to film directing. In Bruges, his first feature, released in 2008, is about a pair of hitmen who hide out in Belgium after the accidental death of a child.

"Graveyard shenanigans," as they're called in Skull, have become Martin McDonagh's paydirt.

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Drew Wall (left) and John S. Davies play two men who pulverize the remains found in coffins they disinter to make room for the newly dead. Good times.
Drew Wall (left) and John S. Davies play two men who pulverize the remains found in coffins they disinter to make room for the newly dead. Good times.

Details

A Skull in Connemara continues through January 17 at Second Thought Theatre, Addison. Call 972-450-6232.

The big buzz in Dallas theater circles for weeks has been the naming of Dallas Theater Center's new repertory acting company. There hasn't been a resident ensemble at DTC since the 1980s, and with theater business hurting everywhere (15 Broadway shows are being forced to close this month), the promise of steady employment at a major regional theater is a boon.

Most of the company will be familiar to audiences at DTC and Kitchen Dog Theater. Lee Trull and Sally Vahle starred together in KDT's Depression-era drama End Times. Christina Vela directs and acts at KDT, most recently co-starring in Richard III. Matthew Gray, founder of now-defunct Classical Acting Company, has become a regular at DTC with roles in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Christmas Carol. Cedric Neal played the lead in DTC's season opener Tommy, with Liz Mikel as the Acid Queen. Chamblee Ferguson has long been an all-around utility player in Dallas theaters including DTC, where he has played Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol for several seasons. Newcomer Hassan El-Amin was just seen in Carol as Jacob Marley's Ghost. His long list of credits includes roles at the Guthrie, San Diego Rep and Arena Stage. Sean Hennigan was a company member in the 1980s and returned to the DTC stage in 2007 in Glengarry Glen Ross.

All of the new company members are in the cast of the biblical play In the Beginning, directed by Kevin Moriarty and opening January 21.

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