This Handbook offers a multiform sweep of theoretical, historical, practical and personal glimpses into a landscape roughly characterised as contemporary Irish theatre and performance. Bringing together a spectrum of voices and sensibilities in each of its four sections — Histories, Close-ups, Interfaces, and Reflections — it casts its gaze back across the past sixty years or so to recall, analyse, and assess the recent legacy of theatre and performance on this island. While offering information, overviews and reflections of current thought across its chapters, this book will serve most handily as food for thought and a springboard for curiosity. Offering something different in its mix of themes and perspectives, so that previously unexamined surfaces might come to light individually and in conjunction with other essays, it is a wide-ranging and indispensable resource in Irish theatre studies.
In this book, each chapter explores significant Irish texts in their literary, cultural, and historical contexts. With an introduction that establishes the multiple critical contexts for Irish cinema, literature, and their adaptive textual worlds, the volume addresses some of the most popular and important late 20th-Century and 21st Century works that have had an impact on the Irish and global cinema and literary landscape. A remarkable series of acclaimed and profitable domestic productions during the past three decades has accompanied, while chronicling, Ireland’s struggle with self-identity, national consciousness, and cultural expression, such that the story of contemporary Irish cinema is in many ways the story of the young nation’s growth pains and travails. Whereas Irish literature had long stood as the nation’s foremost artistic achievement, it is not too much to say that film now rivals literature as Ireland’s key form of cultural expression. The proliferation of successful screen versionings of Irish fiction and drama shows how intimately the contemporary Irish cinema is tied to the project of both understanding and complicating (even denying) a national identity that has undergone radical change during the past three decades. This present volume is the first to present a collective accounting of that productive synergy, which has seen so much of contemporary Irish literature transferred to the screen.
Fifty Key Irish Plays charts the progression of modern Irish drama from Dion Boucicault’s entry on to the global stage of the Irish diaspora to the contemporary dramas created by the experiences of the New Irish. Each chapter provides a brief plot outline along with informed analysis and, alert to the cultural and critical context of each play, an account of the key roles that they played in the developing story of Irish drama. While the core of the collection is based on the critical canon, including work by J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, Teresa Deevy, and Brian Friel, plays such as Tom Mac Intyre’s The Great Hunger and ANU Productions’ Laundry, which illuminate routes away from the mainstream, are also included. With a focus on the development of form as well as theme, the collection guides the reader to an informed overview of Irish theatre via succinct and insightful essays by an international team of academics. This invaluable collection will be of particular interest to undergraduate students of theatre and performance studies and to lay readers looking to expand their appreciation of Irish drama.
What happens when cultural memory becomes a commodity? Who owns the memory? In The Memory Marketplace, Emilie Pine explores how memory is performed both in Ireland and abroad by considering the significant body of contemporary Irish theatre that contends with its own culture and history. Analyzing examples from this realm of theatre, Pine focuses on the idea of witnesses, both as performers on stage and as members of the audience. Whose memories are observed in these transactions, and how and why do performances prioritize some memories over others? What does it mean to create, rehearse, perform, and purchase the theatricalization of memory? The Memory Marketplace shows this transaction to be particularly fraught in the theatricalization of traumatic moments of cultural upheaval, such as the child sexual abuse scandal in Ireland. In these performances, the role of empathy becomes key within the marketplace dynamic, and Pine argues that this empathy shapes the kinds of witnesses created. The complexities and nuances of this exchange—subject and witness, spectator and performer, consumer and commodified—provide a deeper understanding of the crucial role theatre plays in shaping public understanding of trauma, memory, and history.
As the prominence of the recent #WakingTheFeminists movement illustrates, the Irish theatre world is highly conscious of the ways in which theatre can foster social emancipation. This volume of essays uncovers a wide range of marginalised histories by reflecting on the emancipatory role that the Dublin Gate Theatre (est. 1928) has played in Irish culture and society, both historically and in more recent times. The Gate's founders, Hilton Edwards and Mich�al mac Liamm�ir, promoted the work of many female playwrights and created an explicitly cosmopolitan stage on which repressive ideas about gender, sexuality, class and language were questioned. During Selina Cartmell's current tenure as director, cultural diversity and social emancipation have also featured prominently on the Gate's agenda, with various productions exploring issues of ethnicity in contemporary Ireland. The Gate thus offers a unique model for studying the ways in which cosmopolitan theatres, as cultural institutions, give expression to and engage with the complexities of identity and diversity in changing, globalised societies. CONTRIBUTORS: David Clare, Margu�rite Corporaal, Mark Fitzgerald, Barry Houlihan, Radvan Markus, Deirdre McFeely, Justine Nakase, Siobhan O'Gorman, Mary Trotter, Grace Vroomen, Ian R. Walsh, Feargal Whelan
This book presents new insights into the production and reception of Irish drama, its internationalisation and political influences, within a pivotal period of Irish cultural and social change. From the 1950s onwards, Irish theatre engaged audiences within new theatrical forms at venues from the Pike Theatre, the Project Arts Centre, and the Gate Theatre, as well as at Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey. Drawing on newly released and digitised archival records, this book argues for an inclusive historiography reflective of the formative impacts upon modern Irish theatre as recorded within marginalised performance histories. This study examines these works' experimental dramaturgical impacts in terms of production, reception, and archival legacies. The book, framed by the device of ‘archival memory’, serves as a means for scholars and theatre-makers to inter-contextualise existing historiography and to challenge canon formation. It also presents a new social history of Irish theatre told from the fringes of history and reanimated through archival memory.
Drawing on major new archival discoveries and recent research, Patrick Lonergan presents an innovative account of Irish drama and theatre, spanning the past seventy years. Rather than offering a linear narrative, the volume traces key themes to illustrate the relationship between theatre and changes in society. In considering internationalization, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Celtic Tiger period, feminism, and the changing status of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Lonergan asserts the power of theatre to act as an agent of change and uncovers the contribution of individual artists, plays and productions in challenging societal norms. Irish Drama and Theatre since 1950 provides a wide-ranging account of major developments, combined with case studies of the premiere or revival of major plays, the establishment of new companies and the influence of international work and artists, including Tennessee Williams, Chekhov and Brecht. While bringing to the fore some of the untold stories and overlooked playwrights following the declaration of the Irish Republic, Lonergan weaves into his account the many Irish theatre-makers who have achieved international prominence in the period: Samuel Beckett, Siobhán McKenna and Brendan Behan in the 1950s, continuing with Brian Friel and Tom Murphy, and concluding with the playwrights who emerged in the late 1990s, including Martin McDonagh, Enda Walsh, Conor McPherson, Marie Jones and Marina Carr. The contribution of major Irish companies to world theatre is also examined, including both the Abbey and Gate theatres, as well as Druid, Field Day and Charabanc. Through its engaging analysis of seventy years of Irish theatre, this volume charts the acts of gradual but revolutionary change that are the story of Irish theatre and drama and of its social and cultural contexts.
The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre provides the single most comprehensive survey of the field to be found in a single volume. Drawing on more than forty contributors from around the world, the book addresses a full range of topics relating to modern Irish theatre from the late nineteenth-century theatre to the most recent works of postdramatic devised theatre. Ireland has long had an importance in the world of theatre out of all proportion to the size of the country, and has been home to four Nobel Laureates (Yeats, Shaw, and Beckett; Seamus Heaney, while primarily a poet, also wrote for the stage). This collection begins with the influence of melodrama, looks at arguably the first modern Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, before moving into a series of considerations of the Abbey Theatre, and Irish modernism. Arranged chronologically, it explores areas such as women in theatre, Irish-language theatre, and alternative theatres, before reaching the major writers of more recent Irish theatre, including Brian Friel and Tom Murphy, and their successors. There are also individual chapters focusing on Beckett and Shaw, as well as a series of chapters looking at design, acting and theatre architecture. The book concludes with an extended survey of the critical literature on the field. In each chapter, the author does not simply rehearse accepted wisdom; all of the authors push the boundaries of their respective fields, so that each chapter is a significant contribution to scholarship in its own right.
Based on extensive archival research, this open access book examines the poetics and politics of the Dublin Gate Theatre (est. 1928) over the first three decades of its existence, discussing some of its remarkable productions in the comparative contexts of avant-garde theatre, Hollywood cinema, popular culture, and the development of Irish-language theatre, respectively. The overarching objective is to consider the output of the Gate in terms of cultural convergence the dynamics of exchange, interaction, and acculturation that reveal the workings of transnational infrastructures.
The rich legacy of women's contributions to Irish theatre is traditionally viewed through a male-dominated literary canon and mythmaking, thus arguably silencing their work. In this timely book, Shonagh Hill proposes a feminist genealogy which brings new perspectives to women's mythmaking across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The performances considered include the tableaux vivants performed by the Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Ireland), plays written by Alice Milligan, Maud Gonne, Lady Augusta Gregory, Eva Gore-Booth, Mary Devenport O'Neill, Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy, Paula Meehan, Edna O'Brien and Marina Carr, as well as plays translated, adapted and performed by Olwen Fouéré. The theatrical work discussed resists the occlusion of women's cultural engagement that results from confinement to idealised myths of femininity. This is realised through embodied mythmaking: a process which exposes how bodies bear the consequences of these myths, while refusing to accept the female body as passive bearer of inscription through the assertion of a creative female corporeality.
This book engages with ageing masculinities in Irish literature and visual culture, including fiction, drama, poetry, painting, and documentary. Exploring the shifting representations of older men from the early twentieth century to the present, the contributors analyse how a broad range of literary and visual texts construct, reinscribe, or challenge perceptions of older age. In doing so, they trace a shift from depictions of authority figures - often symbolising patriarchal dominance and oppression - to more nuanced, complex, and heterogeneous explorations of older men’s embodied subjectivities and vulnerabilities. Exploring artists and writers such as Seán Keating, J.M. Synge, Teresa Deevy, Marina Carr, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Derek Mahon, Kate O’Brien, John Banville, Colm Tóibín, Bernard MacLaverty, Mike McCormack, Anne Griffin, and Claire Keegan, the essays in this collection attend to the symbolic as well as social significance of older men in Irish cultural expression.