By John O'Riordan
An in depth consultant and research of playwright Sean O'Casey's works - performs and Playlets- through John O'Riordan. Touches on 23 of his O'Casey's works.
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Extra resources for A Guide to O’Casey’s Plays: From the Plough to the Stars
Hardly surprising, in the face of such wrangling and war-games (after the Civil War, Ireland took a long time to heal from her wounds), the symbolic heroine, in a fainting fit, takes to her sickbed, as her doctor warns all those in the house: 'She's very weak, but she'll pull round after a bit, if she gets perfect quietness: A whisper may prove fatal- she'll need perfect peace and quietness for the rest of her National life'. To which, the nonchalant Thornton- 'dressed in working clothes, which bear no marks of work' (prototype of 'Captain' Boyle in Juno and the Paycock) - quips, with sly serenity: 'Oh, be heavens, she's sure to get it too!
In The Shadow of a Gunman, Minnie is herald of a parade, in successive O'Casey dramas, of women of intangible strength - in the least likely of heroic circumstances - who outface and eclipse their menfolk and male comrades. She possesses the twin attributes, necessary for O'Casey bravery, of timidity and audacity. During the raid, in the second act, while the men in the tenement cower in their beds, the timorous Minnie, alone, assumes the initiative of courage. She dies to save Davoren, and dies instead ofhim, thus accentuating the cold cowardice of the imaginary hero and Shields and all the rest of the boastful compatriots who flaunt their 'bravery' and 'heroism'.
In the centennial year, 1980, Siobhan McKenna directed at Vienna's English Theatre. East German radio broadcast a centennial dramatisation, directed by Helmut Hellstorff, as did the BBC, with Bryan Murray and Alan Devlin in the leads. The play has also been performed in cities as diverse as Warsaw (1955) and Teheran (1980). A Gaelic version appeared in 1940 at Galway's Taibhdhearc Theatre, directed by Walter Macken. Published translations are available in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Roumanian, Russian, Persian and Polish (details of which, and those referred to at the conclusion of each subsequent chapter, can be found in Ronald Ayling and Michael J.