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Frank McGuinness’s Dramaturgy of Difference and the Irish Theatre


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 II Interview with Patrick Mason 217


APPENDIX II Interview with Patrick Mason May 19 2003 Patrick Mason is the former artistic director of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He is credited with ‘discovering’ McGuinness at a writer’s workshop in Galway. McGuinness brought a first-draft of The Factory Girls to this work- shop. Mason saw the potential in the play and later directed it. Mason has directed many of McGuinness’s plays including Observe the Sons and his most recent play Gates of Gold. David Cregan (hereafter DC) What was it that first attracted you to di- recting Frank McGuinness’s plays? Patrick Mason (hereafter PM) Well, first of all there is a personal ele- ment because I met Frank first at a playwright’s workshop that I was moder- ating for University College Galway and he had submitted a very fragmentary draft of The Factory Girls, and it was in the course of that work- shop that I got to know him but also became intrigued by the force of his writing. It is one of those things that you just sort of know when you meet the right thing. I mean here was a real playwright. Not just someone with facility for dialogue and character which many people have, but here was someone with this incredible intellectual fire-power, and a grasp of theatre history, a grasp of literature. I mean all the equipment, fully armed and primed, and it was really that. I took Factory Girls to the Abbey and we did the first production in the Peacock...

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