Trisha Shetty (Editor)

A Behanding in Spokane

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Written by  Martin McDonagh
Original language  English
Playwright  Martin McDonagh
Place premiered  Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Date premiered  February 15, 2010
First performance  15 February 2010
Genre  Black comedy
A Behanding in Spokane t2gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcThBmN1vJQjqpzq
Characters  Carmichael Mervyn Toby Marilyn
Setting  Hotel room, small town America
Similar  Martin McDonagh plays, Comedies

A Behanding in Spokane is a 2010 black comedy by award-winning Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. It premiered at the Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway in 2010. This is McDonagh's first play set in the United States.


Christopher walken a behanding in spokane

Plot synopsis

Carmichael has been searching for his missing left hand for 27 years. Two bickering lovebirds, Toby and Marilyn, have a hand to sell, and a hotel clerk, Mervyn, has an aversion to gunfire.


A Behanding in Spokane opened on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theatre on 15 February 2010 in previews, officially on 4 March 2010, and closed on 6 June 2010 after 108 performances.

Directed by John Crowley, the cast featured Christopher Walken as Carmichael, Sam Rockwell as Mervyn, Anthony Mackie as Toby and Zoe Kazan as Marilyn. This is the first play that McDonagh has set in the United States.

Critical response

Hilton Als, reviewing for The New Yorker, wrote: "The play is engineered for success, and McDonagh’s stereotypical view of black maleness is a significant part of that engineering....McDonagh adds gag after gag to the show, as if he believed that comedy could cover up the real horror at its core: the fact that blackness is, for him, a Broadway prop, an easy way of establishing a hierarchy. Like any smart immigrant, McDonagh knows that by going after Toby’s otherness he becomes less of an outsider himself."

Ben Brantley, in his review for The New York Times noted that the typical McDonagh characters "start to seem alarmingly like figures from a conventional Hollywood caper comedy about dopey, foul-mouthed crooks who keep tripping over themselves... If Mr. McDonagh hasn’t provided the kind of exhilarating, nasty fun house we have come to expect of him, we are at least allowed to spend shivery time in that shabby, scary labyrinth that exists behind Carmichael’s glassy forehead."

Awards and nominations

Walken was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, the 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Actor in a Play, and the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Actor in a Play. The play was nominated for the 2010 Drama League Award, Distinguished Production of a Play.


A Behanding in Spokane Wikipedia