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Frank McGuinness’s Dramaturgy of Difference and the Irish Theatre

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David Cregan

This book is the broad application of queer theories to the original plays of the contemporary Irish dramatist Frank McGuinness, the only author in Ireland to consistently utilize gay and lesbian themes in his writing. McGuinness continually represents sexual difference in his character development in a way that previous Irish authors have not. In particular McGuinness portrays homosexual protagonists in his dramas, allowing the queer the narrative prerogative, not merely a secondary role in the formation of theatrical perspective. Often it is the homosexual who tells the story or alters the plot through his or her alternative perspective.
This book not only analyzes the queer in McGuinness’s work, but also contributes to a widening of the conversation and criticism on Irish theatre in general. Its implementation of the internationally recognized paradigm of analysis, queer theory, is cutting-edge in its contribution to the general field of Irish studies as well. As a result of its two-fold agenda of theatrical and cultural analysis, this book not only brings together theories of the queer and the theatre of McGuinness, but it also maps the way in which this queer dramaturgy intersects with contemporary Irish society as it faces a new era of cultural re-invention.

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Appendix I Interview with Frank McGuinness 207

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APPENDIX I Interview with Frank McGuiness October 8 2002 David Cregan (hereafter DC) You mentioned in an interview with the Irish Times that you find the media’s preoccupation with themes of homo- sexuality in your work to be problematic. Could you comment on that? Frank McGuinness (hereafter FM) The differences with doing inter- views, like, with The Sunday Independent and what people write in either reviews or in scholarly articles, it’s certainly in doing private interviews there is a preoccupation with it. I find that pretty upsetting because it is usu- ally, its usually heterosexual interviewers trying to get some cheap thrill from “spot the queer,” and “what do they get up to really?” and that is ridicu- lous nonsense. In terms of reviewing there certainly is a reluctance to con- front certain things that are at the heart of certain plays, whether this is done through the critic’s own embarrassment or through their own sexual hang- ups or whether it’s stuff on censorship both here and in England. What I find interesting is the level of media censorship that is there even at the level of theatre reviewing. But, certainly in terms of scholarly interpretations, I think you are the first one to apply queer theory to these plays, as far as I know. DC Why do you think that is? FM I think you have to remember that queer theory is only about ten years old. It’s perhaps the first time that an available language is there for...

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