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The Doing of Telling on the Irish Stage

A Study of Language Performativity in Modern and Contemporary Irish Theatre


Rosana Herrero Martín

Narrative performance arises as a key concept to understand the fundamental course of transformation and transfiguration undergone by reality on stage in all Irish theatre pieces here under discussion. This study pursues the performative nature of the central threefold axis language-stage-reality and its particular relevance within the idiosyncratic historical and identitarian parameters that have shaped a national theatrical tradition in Ireland. Part I of the book attends to a theoretical approach, aiming at an inclusive analysis of the counter-factual nature of language. The subsequent parts trace the incidence of language and its multiple and complex relationships with reality along a number of theatrical landmarks of Modern and Contemporary Irish Theatre, from Dion Boucicault to Enda Walsh.
Contents: Narrative performance on the Irish stage – The doing of telling in Modern and Contemporary Irish Theatre – Yeats and the setting-up of a theatre tradition – Beckett’s theatre of tellers «dying-on» telling – Brian Friel: the story-teller master of the Irish contemporary stage – Tom Murphy’s theatre of narrative at the crossroads – The scaffoldings of Frank McGuinness’s theatre: space, self and narration – Sebastian Barry and the grand little narrative of the unconscious – Marina Carr and the dissolution of identity narratives – Two «radical» language performances by Donal O’Kelly and Enda Walsh.