McFarland blog

Jane Alexander as Eleanor Bannister and Christopher Michael McFarland as Eugene Claymire in ‘Fireflies’ Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Christopher Michael McFarland is the youngest member of the cast of Fireflies, but one can argue he might have spent the most time of them all in front of New Haven audiences.

McFarland, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, is appearing in the role of Eugene in Fireflies. Eugene, the town cop, arrived on the scene to investigate a complaint filed by his old teacher Eleanor Bannister, played by Tony Award-winner Jane Alexander. McFarland’s turn is a brief one, but one full of charm and good humor as he paints a complete portrait of a distractible kid who turned into a man who wants to help. “Eugene is simultaneously admiring and terrified of his former teacher,” he said.

McFarland has performed countless plays at the drama school from 2006 to 2009 and graced Yale Rep’s stages in Richard II and more recently in Cymbeline. “Every audience varies from night to night, so I don’t want to generalize, but this is a town with a very smart audience,” he said.

“I’ve done plays here with very difficult texts and I’ve always felt that audiences were leaning in and catching the nuances of what folks are saying. And even in a play that has more naturalistic text, as this one does, it offers a lot of interesting ideas that at first seem simple but that the more you reflect on them the more you get out of it. So the New Haven audience, which I would say is a smart audience, will get layers of meaning out of the play,” McFarland said.

Like most people, McFarland has lost love and missed opportunities in his life. He’s also experienced second chances and new opportunities – the same as the characters in Fireflies. “It’s a really human experience no matter your age,” he said.

It’s a message all of New Haven can get behind.

-Steve Scarpa

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