Selected Plays of Paul Vincent Carroll

Selected Plays of Paul Vincent Carroll

£48.00

Chosen and introduced by George Cusack

The sixteenth volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.

21.6 x 13.8cm.

Contains: The Things That Are Caesar’s, Shadow and Substance, The Conspirators, The White Steed, The Devil Came from Dublin, and Goodbye to the Summer, articles about his and others' plays – 'The Substance of Paul Vincent Carroll', 'On Legend and the Arts', 'The White Steed', 'Scottish Drama', 'Can the Abbey be Restored?', 'Reforming a Reformer, 'The Rebel Mind' – and a bibliographical checklist.

Paul Vincent Carroll was the first Irish Catholic to write for the Irish National Theatre after Irish independence. As such, his work offers a unique perspective on Irish life in the early years of the Irish Free State and Irish Republic, particularly the influence of the Catholic Church in rural Ireland. He is particularly known for his depictions of the Catholic clergy, which are simultaneously critical, hopeful, and, above all, human.

Although Carroll was lauded in both Dublin and New York as a major new theatrical voice, virtually none of his work has been in print since his death in 1968.

George Cusack is the author of The Politics of Identity in Irish Drama: W. B. Yeats, Augusta Gregory, and J. M. Synge, and the co-editor of Hungry Words: Images of Famine in the Irish Canon. He received his PhD from the University of Oregon in 2003. He is currently the Director of the Edith Kinney Gaylord Expository Writing Program at the University of Oklahoma.

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Byzantium

Byzantium

out of print
Author:
Series: Oxford Theatre Texts, Book 10
Genre: Drama
Tag: Byzantium
21.6 x 13.8 cm. Oxford Theatre Texts 10

‘Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) gave the première of Francis Warner’s new play Byzantium in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, followed by two performances in the University Church, Oxford, and another in Winchester Cathedral.

Byzantium is a play in two acts. It opens in 527 A.D. with the service in which Justinian is crowned Emperor in succession to his uncle Justin. In Act One Justinian is full of zeal and optimism for the tasks which his vision sets before him. Act Two is altogether more sombre, with unrest at home, news of a catastrophic earthquake in Beirut, and even Byzantium itself plague-stricken and the Empress herself dying. Moreover, the Emperor is plotted against by wily Cappadocian, who is trapped by the spirited Antonina, only to be spared from death by the Christian magnanimity of Justinian.

‘This complex background is sketched lightly yet comprehensively by Warner in elegant and beautiful verse, which was delivered with clarity and fluency by an admirable young cast directed by Tim Prentki

‘Warner did not choose an easy subject with Byzantium. He chose a challenge and he rose to that challenge and surmounted it magnificently. He is a master of plot and characterisation, and, indeed, of the English language, which he commands with a benign authority and loving finesse.’     The Stage

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The Old Lady Says ‘No!’

The Old Lady Says ‘No!’

£19.50
Author:
Series: Irish Dramatic Texts, Book 7
Genre: Drama
Tag: Old Lady Says 'No!'
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Christine St Peter

ISBN: 978-0-86140-357-8
21.6 x 13.8 cm.   xiv, 140 pp.   1992
This definitive edition is based on Johnston's final 1977 version published in the Dramatic Works, the product of fifty years of revisions, and situates the play in its historical, theatrical, and biographical contexts. It is the first edition to have reference to all private and archival materials and to have had the assistance of the playwright in the preparation of its critical apparatus, which includes comprehensive annotations and analyses of all substantive changes in the multiple manuscripts. It will be of enduring interest to scholars specializing in Irish and European theatre history, as well as to students of Anglo-Irish literature and theatre directors.

Co-published with the Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C.

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Ze-Ami and his Theories of Noh Drama

Ze-Ami and his Theories of Noh Drama

£33.00
ISBN 978-0-86140-214-4 21.6 x 13.8 cm.

For over five centuries the essays of Ze-Ami – considered, with his father Kan-Ami, to be the founder of Noh, the classical dance-drama of Japan – were kept secret. They were not shown to more than one Noh actor in each generation until recently. Though they contain a large number of paradoxes and contradictory statements as well as a great deal of repetition, they were regarded as a Bible by actors in the Noh technique. As repetition was a constant feature in training and in techniques in many arts in Japan, and as paradox had often been used in the search for the truth in Zen, so Ze-Ami's essays were accepted, despite their repetitions, paradoxes and contradictions. They were not. however, easily translatable, and they benefit from being edited.

In this work therefore, Ze-Ami's ideas are dealt with in eight chapters: The History of Noh: Five Groups of Noh Plays: Training: Acting: Writing a Play: Public Tachiai Competitions and Grades of Acting: The Audience: and Hana. This arrangement presents Ze-Ami's ideas with some order and consistency. Relevant sections of eighteen essays by Ze-Ami are translated and discussed. These include Fushi-kaden, Kashū, Ongyoku-Kowadashi-kuden, Kukyō, Shikadō, Nikyoku-Santai-Ningyōzu, Sandō, Fushizuke-shidai Fukyokushū, Yūgaku-Shūdō-Fūcken, Goi, Kyūi, Rikugi, Shūgy-okutokuka, Goonkyoku-Jōjō, Goon, Shūdosho, Kyakurui-ku, and Zeshi-Roku-juigo-Sarugaku-Dangi.

This volume is a most useful introduction to an understanding of Noh history, practice, and technique, for all readers in the West, written as it is by a trained Noh actor..

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The Plays – Book 2

The Plays – Book 2

£8.99
Edited by Ann Saddlemyer

ISBN: 978-0-86140-061-4
xxxvi, 304 pp. 21.4cm
J.M.Synge died in 1909 and The Works of John M. Synge were published in four volumes by Maunsel & Co., Dublin, in 1910. Since that time, with the exception of a few minor verses and one or two fragments of prose, the canon of his work has remained unaltered. Nevertheless, much unpublished material exists, for the most part of great interest and significance for the understanding of Synge's methods of work and development. This material, including early drafts of the plays, notebooks, poems, and fragments of poetic drama, has now been thoroughly explored in order to create this definitive edition, first published by Oxford University Press 1962-68, which not only collects together all that is of significance in his printed and in his unprinted work, but also, by a careful use of worksheets and early drafts, indicates much of the process of creation.

The Collected Works is under the general editorship of the late Professor Robin Skelton, of the University of Victoria, British Columbia. The first volume contains his edition of Synge's poems and translations; the second assembles all Synge's prose writings of any merit or interest, edited by the late Dr Alan Price, of The Queen's University, Belfast.

The third and fourth volumes are devoted to Synge's plays, edited by Professor Ann Saddlemyer, then of Victoria College, University of Toronto, now retired. The first of these volumes contains texts of Riders to the Sea, The Shadow of the Glen, and The Well of the Saints, and of the originally little known When the Moon has Set, with appendices analysing the drafts of each play and giving details of first productions. In addition the volume contains much unpublished material, scenarios, dialogues, and fragments, discovered among Synge's notebooks.

This volume provides definitive texts of The Tinker's Wedding, The Playboy of the Western World, and Deirdre of the Sorrows. For all these three plays recently discovered manuscript and notebook material has involved a certain amount of textual alteration; an examination of the long-lost final typescript of The Playboy of the Western World has provided many clues to the author's intentions, while comparison of the various drafts of Deirdre of the Sorrows with the typescript given by the executors to Yeats and Lady Gregory has enabled Dr Saddlemyer to determine the extent of posthumous collaboration.

Synge rewrote his plays many times; one act of The Playboy ran to at least fifteen full drafts, not counting numerous alterations. By examining each available draft of every play, the editor has been able to provide not only a final text of each play as close as possible to the dramatist's version, but in her accompanying notes almost a variorum study of significant passages. Appendixes record the growth of each play from the original scenario through many drafts to the final text, and include discarded scenes which throw new light on the playwright's creative process. Details of first productions and a comprehensive description of all the manuscript sources are also included. The introduction traces the history of each play, quoting extensively from Synge's unpublished correspondence and notebooks to record the dramatist's attitude to his own work in the making, and to set each play against the broader background of the Abbey Theatre. In searching out the material for this edition, Dr Saddlemyer has made use of public and private collections in both Ireland and the United States, and has also included a glossary and guide to pronunciation.

These volumes were published by arrangement with Oxford University Press.

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Agora : In Two Volumes

Agora : In Two Volumes

£22.50
ISBN: Volume 2 :0-86140-373-8 £17.50

ISBN: The pair : 0-86140--374-6 £40.00

Written over the past twenty-two years Agora contains Francis Warner’s plays originally published in the Oxford Theatre Texts series, the theme of which is the West’s odyssey in discovery of its own values, and – in the second half of the work – what the Twentieth Century has done with them.

The first half of the epic (Volume 1) meets the classical tradition on its own grounds. It opens with Healing Nature, a play about Periclean Athens, and this is followed by a trilogy of Roman plays – Virgil and Caesar, Moving Reflections and Light Shadowsthen Byzantium, and concludes with Living Creation, a dramatisation of Renaissance Florence under Lorenzo de’ Medici.

The second half (Volume II), opening with A Conception of Love, a comedy of love to mark the half-way point, is set in the Twentieth Century, and uses Twentieth Century techniques. It contains Maquettes for the Requiem Trilogy and the plays themselves, Lying Figures, Killing Time and Meeting Ends. Added as an appendix is Tim Prentki’s Introduction to the one volume edition of Requiem, published in 1980.

Comments on the plays in Volume I

‘Common to all these plays is a focusing on a moment in history when the attempt was made to ennoble the life of man, to produce that great society, radiant in arts and civilised in politics, which is the mirage that haunts the traveller through the dusty plains of human history. Choice spirits struggle to unite beauty, justice, peace. Of course the struggle is always lost in the end. . . . Detailed. . . accurate . . . moving, with convincing dramatic power, Warner’s verse filled the ear satisfyingly, and echoes in the memory.’ Jasper Griffin, in Oxford Magazine

‘He is a master of plot and characterization, and, indeed, of the English language, which he commands with a benign authority and loving finesse.' The Stage

A ‘contemporary classic’ Oxford Mail

Comments on the plays in Volume II

‘The remarkable series of dramas written by our most adventurous experimental playwright.’  The Times

‘Francis Warner is the most remarkable of those dramatists of our time who have striven to push the limits of theatre beyond their age-old limits. His plays have, by daring appeal to the realms of music and physiology, considerably widened the area of sensibility of those properly responsive to them. They are unique, possibly the only truly unique drama of our time.’ Sir Harold Hobson in The Sunday Times

‘The sort of illuminated shorthand of his style, allied to his arresting visual images, is clearly capable of making a very direct contact - and an electrically shocking one at that. He is a considerable writer.’ Plays and Players

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The Dramatic Works, Volume 3

The Dramatic Works, Volume 3

£35.00
Author:
Series: Selected Titles, Book 3
Genre: Drama
Tag: Dramatic Works Volume 3
hardback ISBN: 0-86140-080-1 / 978-0-86140-080-5 £35.00
three-quarter leather signed edition limited to 25 copies
ISBN: 0-86140-081-X / 978-0-86140-081-2 £150.00

21.6 x 13.8 cm.      516 pp.   1992 
Volume 3 of the Dramatic Works of Denis Johnston

Edited by Joseph Ronsley

Publication of the third volume completes the collection of Johnston's work. Volume 3, The Radio and Television Plays, is in many ways the most interesting, not least because Johnston was one of the founding fathers of BBC drama and a major influence on viewers' very perception of what a television play consists of. Also printed in this collection are a number of articles and other prose writings about drama on radio and television. After a very happy pre-war period working for BBC Radio Northern Ireland, he moved to the embryonic television service at Alexandra Palace - he was one of the few to have been temporarily thrown out of television when broadcasting ceased for the duration of hostilities and he became a BBC Radio War Reporter. An interesting feature of the TV scripts is the early development of television script-writing technique, which, as these faithful reproductions from extant typescripts show, grew out of the conventions used in play-scripts.

Contents: 

Radio Plays: Lillibulero, Multiple Studio Blues, Great Parliamentarians: Lord Palmerston, High Command, The Gorgeous Lady Blessington, Amanda McKittrick Ros, In the Train; Television Drama: The Parnell Commission, Weep for the Cyclops, The Call to Arms, Operations at Killyfaddy, Murder Hath No Tongue; Essays on Broadcasting; Reviews; Appendices: Blind Man's Buff, Riders to the Sidhe; A Radio Talk.

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Yeats and the Noh: A Comparative Study

Yeats and the Noh: A Comparative Study

£30.00
21.6 x 13.8cm. Irish Literary Studies series 38

W.B. Yeats wrote the plays in Four Plays for Dancers (1921) when he was strongly influenced by Japanese Noh theatre, and was searching for some breakthrough in his efforts to promote poetic drama.

Since then, various books have been published on this topic but, with the notable exception of Richard Taylor, no scholar has been able to cope with both Yeats and Noh. Yeats and the Noh started in a small seminar room in University College Dublin, when both authors took part in productions of The Dreaming of the Bones and Nishikigi with their students. Masaru Sekine directed both plays and Christopher Murray performed in them: they were therefore equipped with live experience as well as their personal expertise in Irish literature and Noh drama.

Professor Augustine Martin introduces the volume, and apart from the main section of the book, Colleen Hanrahan, one of the students who took part in both UCD productions, writes about acting in Yeats’s play; Peter Davidson writes about Yeats, Pound, Rummel and Dulac; and Katharine Worth provides an essay on Yeats, Beckett and Noh. There are 16 pages of illustrations.

This volume is unique in providing detailed analysis of contrasts in theatrical aims, as well as examining why man seeks to explore tragic drama as a means of extending the limits of reality.

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The Plays – Book 1

The Plays – Book 1

£7.99
Edited by Ann Saddlemyer

ISBN: 978-0-86140-060-7

J.M.Synge died in 1909 and The Works of John M. Synge were published in four volumes by Maunsel & Co., Dublin, in 1910. Since that time, with the exception of a few minor verses and one or two fragments of prose, the canon of his work has remained unaltered. Nevertheless, much unpublished material exists, for the most part of great interest and significance for the understanding of Synge's methods of work and development. This material, including early drafts of the plays, notebooks, poems, and fragments of poetic drama, has now been thoroughly explored in order to create this definitive edition, first published by Oxford University Press 1962-68, which not only collects together all that is of significance in his printed and in his unprinted work, but also, by a careful use of worksheets and early drafts, indicates much of the process of creation which occurred before the production of the printed page.

The Collected Works is in four volumes, under the general editorship of the late Professor Robin Skelton, of the University of Victoria, British Columbia. The first volume contains edition of Synge's poems and translations, the second assembles all Synge's prose writings of ant merit or interest, edited by the late Dr Alan Price, of The Queen's University, Belfast.

The third and fourth volumes are devoted to Synge's plays, edited by Professor Ann Saddlemyer, then of Victoria College, University of Toronto, now retired. Only five of the plays were published during Synge's lifetime. One emptied the Abbey Theatre, yet was the first of its productions to be translated and performed on the Continent; one caused riots in both Britain and America; one was considered 'too dangerous' to be performed in Ireland. All were written during the last seven years of Synge's life, for the Abbey Theatre, of which he was co-director with W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory. But although his output was comparatively slight, Synge's contribution to the development of modern drama is immeasurable.

In the first volume of the plays we see the development of the playwright's craft. Definitive texts, based on Synge's own notebooks and typewritten drafts, are provided of Riders to the Sea, The Shadow of the Glen, and The Well of the Saints. Included is his controversial first play, When the Moon Has Set, rejected three times by his co-directors, yet carefully preserved by Synge among his papers. Other material discovered among his notebooks, scenarios, dialogues, and fragments, written between 1894 and 1908, indicates not only the scrupulousness with which Synge studied his art, but his rich and fertile imagination. A comprehensive introduction records the history of each play in the making, from genesis to finished product, at the same time setting Synge's work within the larger context of his experience as director and producer and quoting from his own letters documenting his progress. Appendices analysing the drafts of each play and giving details of first productions provide further bibliographical information and describe the numerous manuscript sources tracked down by the editor in public and private collections in both Ireland and the United States.

The second volume of plays contains texts of The Tinker's Wedding, The Playboy of the Western World, and Deirdre of the Sorrows, with similar notes and appendices.

These volumes were published by arrangement with Oxford University Press.

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The Well of the Saints

The Well of the Saints

£12.50
Author:
Series: Irish Dramatic Texts, Book 1
Genre: Drama
Tag: Well of the Saints
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Nicholas Grene

J.M. Synge’s The Well of the Saints, to some extent overshadowed by his better-known plays Riders to the Sea and The Playboy of the Western World, well deserves an individual edition. A rich and complex tragicomic study of the conflict between imagination and reality, The Well centers on an old, blind couple, disillusioned by a miraculous cure, who finally prefer blindness to sight.

Nicholas Grene’s full introduction provides the historical background to the play and the reasons its first audiences, at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, received it with a hostility prefiguring the Playboy riots a few years later. He shows how Synge embeds his parable-like story in the reality of the Irish countryside, and how the theme of the play is developed through a skilful dramatic control of audience response. The Well of the Saints, with its striking affinities to Beckett, can thus be recognized as a play before its time.

The play is fully annotated, with an explanatory note on the language and a glossary for those unfamiliar with Synge’s poetic-peasant dialect. And with access (denied previous editors) to the Abbey Theatre prompt-book in which Synge made important theatrical alterations, Prof. Grene has been able to supply an edition with new textual authority.

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The Dramatic Works, Volume 2

The Dramatic Works, Volume 2

£25.00
Author:
Series: Selected Titles, Book 2
Genre: Drama
Tag: Dramatic Works Volume 2
ISBN: 978-0-901072-53-5

21.6 x 13.8 cm.     iv, 404 pp.    1979      Volume 2 of the Dramatic Works of Denis Johnston

Contains: A Bride for the Unicorn, The Moon in the Yellow River, A Fourth for BridgeThe Golden CuckooNine Rivers from Jordan, The Tain (a pageant), and 'Introducing the enigmatic Dean Swift'.

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The Unicorn from the Stars

The Unicorn from the Stars

£19.50
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Katharine B. Worth

First published in 1903, Where There Is Nothing was never reprinted in the author’s lifetime. It lost its place in collected editions of Yeats’s plays to a new version, The Unicorn from the Stars, in which Lady Gregory had a major share. There has long been a need for an edition of Where There Is Nothing to restore to general view an interesting play which, unusually for Yeats, has a modern setting, a middle-class hero, and a predominantly naturalistic technique.

Yeats gave various reasons for abandoning the original play. Perhaps one he did not mention was his doubt whether its open and direct style and modem Irish background might not identify the author too closely with the visionary central character, Paul Ruttledge. Many of Yeats’s deepest preoccupations are reflected in Paul’s pursuit of his apocalyptic vision: he abandons a life of bourgeois comfort for hard freedom among the tinkers, follows a religious life in a monastery, and finally dies a martyr at the hands of a mob who cannot understand his ecstatic message: “Where there is nothing, there is God.”

The drastically revised version, The Unicorn from the Stars, changes the period and social milieu and introduces new characters and plot complications which bear the marks of Lady Gregory’s distinctive style. Both plays are included in this volume to allow comparison of the plays themselves and to throw light on the characteristic methods of these two preeminent playwrights.

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Selected Plays of George Shiels

Selected Plays of George Shiels

£45.00
Chosen and Introduced by Christopher Murray

The fifteenth volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.

21.6 x 13.8cm.

Contains The Retrievers (hitherto unpublished), Professor Tim, The New Gossoon, The Passing Day, The Rugged Path, and The Summit, bibliographical checklist.

George Shiels (1886-1949) was one of the most prolific and most successful playwrights in the history of the Abbey Theatre. Before his debut at the Abbey, Shiels's early work was staged by the Ulster Literary Theatre in Belfast and later on his work was taken up by the dynamic Group Theatre, also in Belfast. As a Northerner, Shiels embraced the whole island in his work, his use of dialect and his characterisation. Moreover, while his plays were broadly popular and wonderfully well suited to the acting talents of theatre companies North and South, his all-Ireland perspective lent his work a keen critical edge masked by easy realism and hilarious comedy. Nowadays, we turn to the dark comedy of a play like The Passing Day to re-adjust our view of Shiels and to see his plays as seriously concerned with the land question and issues of identity, gender and the law in post-colonial Ireland. From that perspective, The New Gossoon and in particular The Rugged Path (which in 1940 broke all previous box-office receipts at the Abbey, when the production played for an unprecedented twelve weeks, all previous plays having been limited to two) challenge us to look again at Shiels and see him as public commentator as well as consummate entertainer.

The present collection attempts to facilitate this needed redefinition of Shiels's place in the Irish dramatic canon. To that end it includes The Retrievers (1924), his first full-length political play, never before published, together with Professor Tim (1925), The New Gossoon (1930), The Passing Day (1936), The Rugged Path (1940) and its sequel The Summit (1941), together with a Bibliographical Checklist.

Christopher Murray is Professor Emeritus in the School of English and Drama at University College Dublin. He is former editor of Irish University Review and former chair of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL). Among his publications are Twentieth-Century Irish Drama: Mirror up to Nation and Sean O'Casey, Writer at Work: A Biography.

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The Dramatic Works, Volume 1

The Dramatic Works, Volume 1

£25.00
Author:
Series: Selected Titles, Book 1
Genre: Drama
Tag: Dramatic Works Volume 1
ISBN: 978-0-901072-52-8
12.6 x 13.8 cm.      iv, 395 pp.   1977   Volume 1 of the Dramatic Works of Denis Johnston

Containing: General Introduction,  The Old Lady Says `No!' and 'A Note on what happened', The Scythe and the Sunset, Storm Song, The Dreaming Dust, 'Strange Occurrence on Ireland's Eye' and accompanying prose writings about these plays.

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Three Plays

Three Plays

£8.99
Author:
Genre: Drama
Tag: Three Plays
Translated by Won-Jae Jang

In his study Irish Influences on Korean Theatre during the 1920s and 1930s, Won-Jae Jang alerted scholars to a previously unexamined example of intercultural exchange in which Korean scholars looked to Irish writers and especially Irish dramatists to help them find a way of freeing themselves from the cultural imperialism of Japan. They studied the stated aims of Yeats, Lady Gregory and Synge in founding an Irish National Theatre Movement to gain independence from the dominance of English drama, read translations of their plays as well as some by O’Casey and T. C. Murray, and decided to follow that example, first by adaptations, then imitations and finally with original dramas that nonetheless reveal a profound debt to distinct Irish models.

The three plays by Chi-Jin Yoo (the centenary of whose birth is celebrated in 2005) that are contained in this volume belong to this last group. He focuses on the lives of the deprived and the impoverished, country people struggling to maintain a degree of security if only to retain some vestige of human dignity. In this he follows the Irish realist tradition rather than the Yeatsian preoccupation with the legendary and the heroic. Wan-Jae Jang offers the reader literal translations from the Korean, the better to respect the raw energy of the original dramas, into which Chi-Jin Yoo welded a surprising variety of influences from Irish playwrights. As well as the three plays, The Cow, The Mud Hut and The Donkey, also published here is an article by Yoo, ‘Sean O’Casey and I’, which shows the major influence that O’Casey in particular had on his work.

Won-Jae Jang was born in Seoul, graduated from Korea University (BA), and Goldsmiths College, University of London (MA), and was granted his PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2000. He is now working for Soongsil University as a Junior Professor. His Irish Influences on Korean Theatre during the 1920s and 1930s was published in 2003.

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Selected Plays of Lennox Robinson

Selected Plays of Lennox Robinson

£8.95
Chosen and Introduced by Christopher Murray

The first volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.

ISBN: 0-86140-087-9 / 978-0-86140-087-4 £25.00

Paperback ISBN: 0-86140-088-7 / 978-0-86140-088-1 £9.95

Contains: Patriots, The Whiteheaded Boy, Crabbed Youth and Age, The Big House, Drama at Inish, Church Street, bibliographical checklist.

Lennox Robinson was one of the leading playwrights of Dublin's Abbey Theatre as well as being its general manager and a director for many years. As with many other playwrights of the twentieth century, his work has been unjustly neglected, this volume, published in 1982, being the first of his plays to have appeared for over a quarter of a century. It is fitting, therefore, that this selection should be the first of a new series, Irish Drama Selections, which has sought to remedy the shortage of texts of the work of Ireland's dramatists, which with the exception of perhaps ten authors, are virtually unobtainable except in rare editions, long out of print.

Christopher Murray is Emeritus Professor of Drama and Theatre History, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin. He is former editor of Irish University Review and former chair of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL). Among his publications are Twentieth Century Irish Drama: Mirror up to Nation and Sean O'Casey, Writer at Work: A Biography. He also chose and introduced the fifteenth volume in the Irish Drama Selections series, Selected Plays of George Shiels.

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Selected Plays of Douglas Hyde ‘An Craoibhin Aoibhin’

Selected Plays of Douglas Hyde ‘An Craoibhin Aoibhin’

£7.99 pbk
Chosen and Introduced by Janet Egleson Dunleavy and Gareth Dunleavy

The seventh volume of the Irish Drama Selections series (ISSN 0260-7962), General Editors: Joseph Ronsley and Ann Saddlemyer.

Hardcover ISBN: 0-86140-095-X / 987-0-86140-095-9 £25.00

Paperback ISBN: 0-86140-096-8 / 978-0-86140-096-6 £8.99

21.6 x 13.8 cm    192 pp.   1991   

Contains: The Twisting of the Rope, The Marriage, The Lost Saint, The Nativity, King James, The Bursting of the Bubble, The Tinker and the Sheeog, The Matchmaking, The School-master, bibliographical checklist. This volume publishes the original Irish language texts with Lady Gregory's translations.

When Douglas Hyde was elected in 1938 as first President of Ireland, he brought to this last of many rôles the prestige of an important scholar, a noted author and a leader of the cultural nationalist movement. Born in 1860, the son of the Church of Ireland rector at Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon, he grew up among the local people, learning Irish and listening  to folk tales, which he began to record and which proved valuable experience when writing dialogue for his plays. After study at Trinity he became a founder member of the Gaelic League, formed in 1893 to preserve and promote the Irish language, and he was its President for twenty-two years.

Hyde was struck by the idea of promoting the Irish language through drama, especially puppet shows and short plays. In the hands of a writer less gifted in mimicry, with a less-developed sense of humour, the results of an effort undertaken for admittedly propagandist purposes might have been deadly. In his hands they ushered in a new dramatic tradition. That his one-act plays, classics of the modern Irish theatre, continue to be performed today, both in their original Irish and in Lady Gregory's English translations is but one indication of the versatility of his talent and his appeal to both popular and artistic tastes. Eight one-act plays are reproduced here with Lady Gregory's translations on the facing pages.

More than three decades after his death, the inevitable reassessment is under way and new stock must be taken of his rôles as folklorist, poet, translator and playwright, each assumed at a carefully chosen time for what it could contribute to the goal of his life: first the cultural, then the social and political independence of Ireland.

 

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Where There is Nothing

Where There is Nothing

£19.50
Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Katharine B. Worth

First published in 1903, Where There Is Nothing was never reprinted in the author’s lifetime. It lost its place in collected editions of Yeats’s plays to a new version, The Unicorn from the Stars, in which Lady Gregory had a major share. There has long been a need for an edition of Where There Is Nothing to restore to general view an interesting play which, unusually for Yeats, has a modern setting, a middle-class hero, and a predominantly naturalistic technique.

Yeats gave various reasons for abandoning the original play. Perhaps one he did not mention was his doubt whether its open and direct style and modem Irish background might not identify the author too closely with the visionary central character, Paul Ruttledge. Many of Yeats’s deepest preoccupations are reflected in Paul’s pursuit of his apocalyptic vision: he abandons a life of bourgeois comfort for hard freedom among the tinkers, follows a religious life in a monastery, and finally dies a martyr at the hands of a mob who cannot understand his ecstatic message: “Where there is nothing, there is God.”

The drastically revised version, The Unicorn from the Stars, changes the period and social milieu and introduces new characters and plot complications which bear the marks of Lady Gregory’s distinctive style. Both plays are included in this volume to allow comparison of the plays themselves and to throw light on the characteristic methods of these two preeminent playwrights.

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The Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival

£14.99
Author:
Series: Selected Titles
Genre: Drama
Tag: Harvest Festival
ISBN: 978-0-86140-045-4
22.9 x 14.5 cm.      xvi, 91 pp.  1979

The Harvest Festival is Sean O’Casey’s earliest extant play. Written in about 1918 or 1919, it was the second play that O’Casey offered the Abbey Theatre. It was turned down, but he kept the manu­script and it now forms part of the extensive O’Casey archive in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. It has never been performed, and this is its first pub­lication in the U.K. and Ireland, following on its U.S. publication by only a few months.

The plot focuses on the turmoil of an outside world of strikes and riots converging on a Dublin city church in the midst of its preparations for a harvest festival. Set in 1913, it deals with Irish workers’ battles against economic oppression and religious hypocrisy, with that vital combina­tion of passion, humour and pathos that distinguishes O’Casey’s later plays. It is a rich melodrama of class struggle, with ironically pointed clashes involving representatives of Church, Employers and Labour.

An incomplete revision of the first act, which O’Casey kept with the original manuscript, is included as an Appendix to show the direction the playwright might have gone had he chosen to revise the entire play: as it is, students of drama will see in The Harvest Festival the seeds of O’Casey’s later works, and the lineal descendants of its characters appear in Red Roses for Me, The Drums of Father Ned, and The Bishop’s Bonfire. Eileen O’Casey has contributed a foreword entitled ‘Clench Your Teeth’, and John O’Riordan has written an Introduction.

A three-quarter leather edition with wood veneer panels, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, intended to be limited to 50 copies, ISBN 0-86140-052-6, signed by the writers of the Foreword and Introduction, Eileen O'Casey and John O'Riordan, was also published, but of the 50 copies only 30 were actually bound.

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The Wonder and Supernatural Plays, being the Third Volume of the Collected Plays

The Wonder and Supernatural Plays, being the Third Volume of the Collected Plays

£25.00
General Editors of the Coole Edition: T.R.Henn CBE and Colin Smythe

Edited and with a Foreword by Ann Saddlemyer

22.2 x 14.00  cm.  

This volume of Lady Gregory’s Collected Plays contains all those that deal with the magic of Irish folk stories or the supernatural aspects of ghosts or religion. Those which use as their plot magic and kings' sons were written for an audience of children. In The Dragon the theatrical monster is to come and carry off the princess as all good dragons should and then be killed by a prince, but in this case the disguised prince does not kill the beast but does a transplant giving him a squirrel's heart which makes him chase off to the West Indies in search of cocoa-nuts.

For her adult audiences, Lady Gregory wrote her Irish passion play, The Story Brought by Brigit, and Shanwalla, a play about the drugging of a prize racehorse just before a race. The innocence of the accused trainer is only proved after the appearance of the ghost of the trainer's murdered wife who sup­plies particularly relevant informa­tion which shakes the villain into a confession. The third act of this play was not as good as it might have been, and after Yeats had criticised it Lady Gregory rewrote the first part, published here for the first time. The original act, together with Yeats' criticisms, are included in an Appendix. The other plays in this volume are what Lady Gregory called her “first play”, Colman & Guaire; her beautiful miracle play set in the West of Ireland, The Travelling Man; The Full Moon; Aristotle's Bellows and Dave.

Volume I of the Collected Plays contains the Comedies; Volume II The Tragedies and Tragic-Comedies, and Volume IV the Translations, Adaptations and Collaborations. Each volume is edited and has a foreword by Professor Saddlemyer.

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