Performing Irishness

Irish Drama on the Galician Stage

by Elisa Serra Porteiro (Author)
©2021 Monographs XII, 240 Pages


Performing Irishness analyses the presence and impact of Irish drama in Galicia, a minorised cultural context where Ireland has historically been viewed as a recognisable, often inspirational, «other». Through her exploration of the ways in which translation choices interweave with theatre practice, the author reveals context and on-the-spot decisions as crucial elements in the adaptation and staging of the plays. This study traces the multiplicity of factors that determined the plays’ path from one culture to the other by means of interviews with theatre practitioners and a wealth of unpublished documents around the translation and production processes, resulting from extensive archival research. The voices behind the scenes provide us with a viewpoint that goes beyond the texts to generate a pluridimensional map of how Irish drama has travelled not only to Galicia but also to – and through – other Iberian stages.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • CHAPTER 1 Seizing Yeats: Irish folk-drama in the emergence of Galician theatrical identity
  • CHAPTER 2 Synge in the diaspora: The dislocation of the Galician Stage
  • CHAPTER 3 Ditea: The theatrical ‘transition’ of Irish Drama in Galicia
  • CHAPTER 4 Irish drama and the institutionalisation of theatre practice: The Centro Dramático Galego
  • CHAPTER 5 Taming Irishness: Martin McDonagh’s Leenane Trilogy in Galicia
  • Bibliography
  • Index

←viii | ix→


Figure 1. Cover page of Dous folc-dramas de W.B. Yeats (Nós, 1935).

Figure 2. Original script of O casamento do latoneiro (1960), belonging to María Victoria Villaverde, with manuscript performance notes and stage directions.

Figure 3. Original script of O casamento do latoneiro (1960), with manuscript notes.

Figure 4. Roda Viva. Programme (Ditea, 1979).

Figure 5. Roda Viva. Programme (Ditea, 1979).

Figure 6. O país da saudade. Programme (Ditea, 1977).

Figure 7. O país da saudade. Programme (Ditea, 1977).

Figure 8. Cabalgada cara ó mar. Programme (Ditea, 1972).

Figure 9. Cabalgada cara ó mar. Programme (Ditea, 1972).

Figure 10. Rosas vermellas pra mín. Programme (Ditea, 1976).

Figure 11. Rosas vermellas pra mín. Programme (Ditea, 1976).

Figure 12. Production poster of O mozo que chegou de lonxe (CDG, 1988), Marcelino de Santiago ‘Kukas’.

Figure 13. Cover of rehearsal script of O mozo que chegou de lonxe (CDG, 1988) belonging to actor Xosé Manuel Olveira ‘Pico’, currently in the Ditea archives in Santiago de Compostela.

Figure 14. Rehearsal script of O mozo que chegou de lonxe (CDG, 1988) belonging to actress María Bouzas, with manuscript changes to the title originally chosen by Alberto Avendaño.

Figure 15. Xosé Manuel Olveira writes on behalf of his character on the programme for O mozo que chegou de lonxe (CDG, 1988).

←ix | x→

Figure 16. María Bouzas, as her character on the programme for O mozo que chegou de lonxe (CDG, 1988).

Figure 17. Production poster. Como en Irlanda (CDG, 1996).

Figure 18. Production poster. A raíña da beleza de Leenane (Teatro do Atlántico, 2006).

Figure 19. Production poster of Un cranio furado (Producións Excéntricas, 2010), designed by Pancho La Peña.

Figure 20. Production poster of Oeste solitario (Producións Excéntricas, 2011), designed by Pancho La Peña.

←x | xi→


The research process leading to this book was completed thanks to scholarships from the Irish Research Council of Ireland and the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University College Cork; and its publication is funded by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences and by the National University of Ireland.

I am indebted to Dr Helena Buffery, for her dedication, vision and encouragement. She has been instrumental in bringing this project to life and for that, I thank her wholeheartedly. Every person in the Department of SPLAS has offered helpful advice, practical help and kind words at some point during the project and I am truly grateful for that. I would like to thank very specially Eugenia Bolado, Stephen Boyd, Dr Carlos Garrido and the extraordinary Professor Nuala Finnegan. A special mention goes to Dr Donna Alexander, Dr Cara Levey, Laura Linares and Dr Martín Veiga, for their friendship and generosity.

The insightful comments of Professor María Delgado, Dr Manuela Palacios, Dr Manuel Vieites and Dr Antonio Raúl de Toro Santos have been in my mind and I hope to have done them justice. My gratitude is also to library staff in the Biblioteca de Filoloxía (UDC, A Coruña), the Boole Library, and to Frédéric Antoine (Alliance Française, Dublin), for their readiness to assist with documentary issues.

Many of the materials that I used for my research had to be sourced from private archives or personal collections. I owe a great deal to Alberto Álvarez (Ditea); Rubén González (Producións Excéntricas); translators Alberto Avendaño and Manuel Bermúdez Blanco; scholars Carmen Mejía, Inma López Silva, Iolanda Ogando, Noemí Pazó and Silvia Vázquez Fernández; actresses María Barcala and María Bouzas; directors Quico Cadaval and Xúlio Lago; and all of the practitioners whose willingness to lend their work to scrutiny has made this project possible. In particular, the collaboration of Avelino González has been absolutely vital and I could never thank him enough.

←xi | xii→

I would like to express my gratitude to my family and friends, for both their moral and – not least! – practical support: Kathryn Hargrave, for being there hail, rain or shine; my Irish family, the Harringtons; my husband, Ger; and my mother, María Jesús Porteiro. A special thought goes to my mother-in-law, Martina Harrington, a true inspiration, and to my sons.

←xii | 1→


‘Cando un galego asoma a cabeza para buscar un país no horizonte internacional o primeiro que ve é Irlanda. […] Irlanda é para Galicia […] unha versión aceptable do porvir.’

When a Galician pops his head out looking for a country on the international horizon, Ireland is the first thing he sees. Ireland is for Galicia an acceptable version of the hereafter.

Camilo Franco (2016)

‘We love Ireland’. Author Camilo Franco chose that title for his review of Martin McDonagh’s O tolleito de Innishman (The Cripple of Innishman), staged by Contraproducións in 2016, where he reflected – casually yet purposefully – on the cultural and theatrical relationship with Ireland. He did not hesitate to declare Irish drama ‘un teatro de galegos sen galegos.’ [Galician people’s theatre without the Galician people] (Franco 2016). How did Ireland come to occupy such prominent place in the Galician collective psyche and, specifically, in Galician theatre practice? With the aim of shedding light on dramaturgical understandings and representations of Irishness, this book presents a detailed cultural history of the translation, adaptation and reception of Irish theatre in Galicia that enters into dialogue with a range of different fields: the translation and reception of Irish culture; theatre and performance history; the translation of literature in minority contexts; and approaches to translation for the stage.

The belief in a mythical connection between Ireland and Galicia was forged during the Rexurdimento, the nineteenth-century literary revival not dissimilar to other literary movements rooted in the Romantic reconsideration of national identities. In his 1838 history of Galicia, José Verea y Aguiar attributed the greatness of the nation to its Celtic ancestry (Verea 2001). Celticism seduced poets like Eduardo Pondal, and other ←1 | 2→historians, such as Manuel Murguía and Benito Vicetto, also ‘under the spell of Romanticism’ (Vázquez Fernández 36).1


XII, 240
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (March)
minorised cultures translation Theatre
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2021. XII, 240 pp., 20 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Elisa Serra Porteiro (Author)

Elisa Serra Porteiro is a Lecturer in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University College Cork. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies and a MA in Drama and Theatre Studies. Her research to date has focussed on Irish drama in the Iberian context, with special attention to the intersection of translation and stage practice.


Title: Performing Irishness
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
254 pages