Dylan Cotter and Rachel Franke in Arizona Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan.”

Cripple Billy’s life is excruciatingly dull and, well, lifeless.

But a Hollywood movie filmed in the Aran Islands just off the west coast of Ireland could be just what he needs to pick his spirits up.

That’s the basic premise of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” which Arizona Repertory Theatre opens in previews Sunday, Nov. 4.

Cripple Billy, a cruel nickname given to him because of a bum leg, is an orphan who lives with his adopted aunts in Inishmaan, Ireland.

These are not nice women. They mock him and casually drop insults like, “You’d see nicer eyes on a goat.”

But when that Hollywood director comes looking for actors in a movie he’s making (“Man of Aran” — which was actually filmed there in the mid-1930s), Billy sees a way out. That is especially fanned when he is persuaded to take a screen test. His hopes soar with thoughts of escape.

But this is an Irish play. Happy endings don’t happen. What does happen, especially with McDonagh, is poetic language, dark comedy, and a piece that will follow you out of the theater and hang with you for some time.

Hank Stratton directs the University of Arizona students in the play, which previews at 1:30 Sunday, Nov. 4 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5. Opening is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7. It’s at the Tornabene Theatre in the UA Fine Arts Complex at North Park Avenue and East Speedway. The runtime is 2 hours, 12 minutes, with one intermission. Tickets are $17-$28.

For more information, call 621-1162 or visit tickets.arizona.edu

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@tucson.com or 573-4128. On Twitter: @kallenStar

Reporter

Kathleen has covered the arts for the Star for 20 years. Previously, she covered business, news and features for the Tucson Citizen. A near-native of Tucson, she is continually amazed about the Old Pueblo's arts scene and feels lucky to be covering it.