No one would accuse Conor McPherson of going soft. As Ireland's preeminent playwright, he is renowned for his bruising, binge-drinking, invective-spewing immorality tales.
His plays may be more humane than the sadistic farces of his Anglo-Irish contemporary Martin McDonagh, yet there has been no let up in malevolence. In "The Seafarer," produced at the Geffen Playhouse in 2009, the devil himself has a starring role as a poker-playing ensnarer of souls.
And in his latest work, "The Night Alive," which opens at the Geffen on Feb. 11, a hammer-wielding maniac has a scene that is one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had in a theater.