1st Edition

Fifty Key Irish Plays

Edited By Shaun Richards Copyright 2023
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    Fifty Key Irish Plays charts the progression of modern Irish drama from Dion Boucicault’s entry on to the global stage of the Irish diaspora to the contemporary dramas created by the experiences of the New Irish.

    Each chapter provides a brief plot outline along with informed analysis and, alert to the cultural and critical context of each play, an account of the key roles that they played in the developing story of Irish drama. While the core of the collection is based on the critical canon, including work by J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, Teresa Deevy, and Brian Friel, plays such as Tom Mac Intyre’s The Great Hunger and ANU Productions’ Laundry, which illuminate routes away from the mainstream, are also included. With a focus on the development of form as well as theme, the collection guides the reader to an informed overview of Irish theatre via succinct and insightful essays by an international team of academics.

    This invaluable collection will be of particular interest to undergraduate students of theatre and performance studies and to lay readers looking to expand their appreciation of Irish drama.

    1. The Shaughraun (1874) by Dion Boucicault

    Scott Boltwood

    2. The Importance of Being Earnest (1893) by Oscar Wilde

    Ben Levitas

    3. The Last Feast of the Fianna (1900) by Alice Milligan

    Catherine Morris

    4. Kathleen Ni Houlihan (1902) by Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats

    Eglantina Remport

    5. John Bull’s Other Island (1904) by Bernard Shaw

    David Clare

    6. The Gaol Gate (1906) by Lady Gregory

    Eglantina Remport

    7. The Playboy of the Western World (1907) by J. M. Synge

    Hélène Lecossois

    8. Harvest (1910) by Lennox Robinson

    Shaun Richards

    9. At the Hawk’s Well (1916) by W. B. Yeats

    Michael McAteer

    10. The Plough and the Stars (1926) by Sean O’Casey

    James Moran

    11. The Old Lady Says "No!", (1929) by Denis Johnston

    Ruud van den Beuken

    12. Youth’s the Season - ? (1931) by Mary Manning

    Ruud van den Beuken

    13. Katie Roche (1936) by Teresa Deevy

    Chris Morash

    14. Purgatory (1938) by W. B. Yeats

    Chris Morash

    15. An Apple a Day (1942) by Elizabeth Connor

    Ian R. Walsh

    16. Tolka Row (1951) by Maura Laverty

    Deirdre McFeely

    17. Home is the Hero (1952) by Walter Macken

    Ian R. Walsh

    18. The Wood of the Whispering (1953) by M. J. Molloy

    Lisa Coen

    19. Waiting for Godot (1953) by Samuel Beckett

    James Little

    20. The Hostage (1958) by Brendan Behan

    Michael Pierse

    21. Over the Bridge (1960) by Sam Thompson

    Michael Parker

    22. Stephen D (1962) by Hugh Leonard

    Christopher Murray

    23. The Field (1965) by John B. Keane

    Lisa Coen

    24. Famine (1968) by Tom Murphy

    Hiroko Mikami

    25. Translations (1980) by Brian Friel

    Kelly Matthews

    26. The Great Hunger (1983) by Tom Mac Intyre

    Marie Kelly

    27. Tea in a China Cup (1983) by Christina Reid

    Lisa Fitzpatrick

    28. Northern Star (1984) by Stewart Parker

    Marilynn Richtarik

    29. Bailegangaire (1985) by Tom Murphy

    Csilla Bertha

    30. Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985) by Frank McGuiness

    David Cregan

    31. Ourselves Alone (1985) by Anne Devlin

    Lisa Fitzpatrick

    32. Double Cross (1986) by Tom Kilroy

    José Lanters

    33. A Handful of Stars (1988) by Billy Roche

    Victor Merriman

    34. The Lament for Arthur Cleary (1989) by Dermot Bolger

    Victor Merriman

    35. Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) by Brian Friel

    Joan Fitzpatrick Dean

    36. Digging for Fire (1991) by Declan Hughes

    Patrick Lonergan

    37. Eclipsed (1992) by Patricia Burke Brogan

    Charlotte Headrick

    38. The Steward of Christendom (1995) by Sebastian Barry

    Christina Hunt Mahony

    39. The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996) by Martin McDonagh

    Eamonn Jordan

    40. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson

    Clare Wallace

    41. By the Bog of Cats (1998) by Marina Carr

    Melissa Sihra

    42. The Walworth Farce (2006) by Enda Walsh

    Paige Reynolds

    43. Terminus (2007) by Mark O’Rowe

    Ondřej Pilný

    44. The Playboy of the Western World (2007) by Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle

    Patrick Lonergan

    45. I (Heart) Alice (Heart) I (2010) by Amy Conroy

    J. Paul Halferty

    46. No Escape (2010) by Mary Raftery

    Luke Lamont

    47. Laundry (2011) by ANU Productions

    Miriam Haughton

    48. Quietly (2012) by Owen McCafferty

    Shaun Richards

    49. Broken Promise Land (2013) by Mirjana Rendulic

    Charlotte McIvor

    50. Spinning (2014) by Deirdre Kinahan

    Mária Kurdi


    Shaun Richards is Emeritus Professor of Irish Studies at Staffordshire University. Publications include Mapping Irish Theatre: Theories of Space and Place (Cambridge University Press, 2013), co-authored with Chris Morash, and Contemporary Irish Documentary Theatre (Bloomsbury, 2020), co-edited with Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos.

    "The canon of modern Irish plays ought to be as fluid and debatable as Ireland itself has been. This lively, stimulating and pleasantly surprising re-thinking of the repertoire cracks open the hard shell of assumptions to reveal the rich variousness of a dynamic and contrary tradition." Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times, Ireland