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Theatre Stuff: Critical Essays on Contemporary Irish Theatre



Jordan Eamonn

Irish theatre has never been so successful, yet at the same time never more in need of rigorous evaluation. Many of the plays by Brian Friel, Thomas Murphy, Thomas Kilroy, Frank McGuinness, Anne Devlin, Sebastian Barry, Conor McPherson, Martin McDonagh (London-Irish), Marina Carr, Billy Roche and Marie Jones have been critically acclaimed and won substantial awards. In addition, Irish directors, designers, actors and administrators have worked at some of the best theatres in the world and with some of the most talented professionals available. In this comprehensive collection of essays, playwrights, directors, journalists, theatre practitioners, critics and academics, from many different countries and backgrounds, give their perceptive points of view. Each contributor takes an approach which is passionate, idiosyncratic, astute, provocative and refreshing. All of the writing, in one way or another, hints at the demands, magic, urgency and ephemeral qualities of good theatre. This extremely valuable collection of accessible essays will promote discussion and is a timely and welcome addition to the critical debate on Irish drama.
Contents: Eamonn Jordan: Introduction – Thomas Kilroy: A Generation of Playwrights – Declan Hughes: Who The Hell Do We Think We Still Are? Reflections On Irish Theatre and Identity – Marianne McDonald: Classics as Celtic Firebrand: Greek Tragedy, Irish Playwrights, and Colonialism – Lionel Pilkington: Theatre History and the Beginnings of the Irish National Theatre Project – Anna McMullan: Gender, Authorship and Performance in Selected Plays by Contemporary Irish Women Playwrights: Mary Elizabeth Burke-Kennedy, Marie Jones, Marina Carr, Emma Donoghue – Fintan O’Toole: Irish Theatre: The State of the Art – Bruce Arnold: The State of Irish Theatre – Ashley Taggart: Theatre of war? Contemporary drama in Northern Ireland – Caoimhe McAvinchey: Theatre - Act or Place? – Joseph Long: Come Dance With Me in Ireland: Current developments in the independent theatre sector – Jocelyn Clarke: (Un)critical Conditions – Redmond O’Hanlon: Brian Friel’s Dialogue with Euripides: Living Quarters – Bernice Schrank: Politics, Language, Metatheatre: Friel’s The Freedom of the City and the Formation of an Engaged Audience – Declan Kiberd: Theatre as Opera: The Gigli Concert – Anne F. Kelly: Bodies and Spirits in Tom Murphy’s Theatre – Terry Eagleton: Unionism and Utopia: Seamus Heaney’s The Cure at Troy – Akiko Satake: The Seven Ages of Henry Joy McCracken: Stewart Parker’s Northern Star as a History Play of the United Irishmen in 1798 – Deirdre Mulrooney: Tom MacIntyre’s Texture – Eamonn Jordan: From Playground to Battleground: Metatheatricality in the Plays of Frank McGuinness – Christopher Murray: Billy Roche’s Wexford Trilogy: Setting, Place, Critique – Ger Fitzgibbon: The Poetic Theatre of Sebastian Barry – Riana O’Dwyer: The Imagination of Women’s Reality: Christina Reid and Marina Carr – Martine Pelletier: Dermot Bolger’s Drama – Melissa Sihra: A Cautionary Tale: Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats – Eric Weitz: Barabbas at Play with The Whiteheaded Boy – Victor Merriman: Songs of possible worlds: nation, representation and citizenship in the work of Calypso Productions – Karen Vandevelde: The Gothic Soap of Martin McDonagh – Scott T. Cummings: Homo Fabulator: The Narrative Imperative in Conor McPherson’s Plays.