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Ireland on Stage

Beckett and After

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Edited By Hiroko Mikami, Minako Okamuro and Naoko Yagi

Ireland on Stage: Beckett and After, a collection of ten essays on contemporary Irish theatre, focuses primarily on Irish playwrights and their works, both in text and on the stage, in the latter half of the twentieth century. It is symbolic that most of the editorial work for this book was carried out in 2006, the centenary year of the birth of Samuel Beckett. While the editors consider Beckett to be the most important playwright in post-1950 Irish theatre, it should be noted that the contributors to the book are not bound in any sense by Beckettian criticism of any kind. The contributors draw freely on Beckett and his work: some examine Beckett’s plays in detail, while others, for whom Beckett remains an indispensable springboard to their discussions, pay closer attention to his or their own contemporaries, ranging from Brian Friel and Frank McGuinness to Marina Carr and Conor McPherson. The editorial policy of the book was flexible enough to allow contributors to go as far back as a hundred years in their attempt to contextualise post-1950 Irish theatre. The works of Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, and James Joyce are frequently mentioned throughout the book; this undoubtedly added to the dynamics of the book, as well as to the rigour which the editors believe should be apparent in the collection as a whole