A Guide to O’Casey’s Plays: From the Plough to the Stars by John O'Riordan

By John O'Riordan

An intensive consultant and research of playwright Sean O'Casey's works - performs and Playlets- through John O'Riordan. Touches on 23 of his O'Casey's works.

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Additional info for A Guide to O’Casey’s Plays: From the Plough to the Stars

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Shields's counterblasts are equally effective, too: 'That's right, that's right- make a joke about it! That's the Irish People all over- they treat a jake as a serious thing and a serious thing as a joke'. The disputatiousness, present in the morning's acrimony, as illustrated by the chequered portrayal of happenings in the first act, resumes in the evening, as indicated in the second act and continues into the night until the banterers fall asleep. A few hours elapse between the two acts. At the beginning of Act Two it is after curfew and past midnight.

With the later plays, too, there emerges a whole panoply of resolute young women (based on the self-determined, gay-hearted independence of outlook of Minnie Powell, Mary Boyle and others) and O'Casey frequently displays them with an outgoing sexuality which he applauds with delight (from Julia in The Star Turns Red and Avril in Purple Dust to Keelin in The Bishop's Bonfire and Bernadette in The Drums ofFather Ned, though there are many other claimants in the O'Casey charactery). Although Juno and the Paycock is devoid of male heroes in what is predominantly a feminist work of inspiration (in the same way that Measure for Measure, A Doll's House and Miss Julie are), the young male hero or poetic lover- stemming 46 A Guide to O'Casey's Plays from Donal Davoren to the Dreamer of Within the Gates, O'Killigain of Purple Dust and Robin of Cock-a-Doodle Dandy - is a creation prominent only in O'Casey's later idealistic plays, an evolvement activating from the personal life of the dramatist himself in his more inward, reflective moments of exiled tranquillity.

And just as clever. Men were shot down while at business, on pleasure, even when they whispered to a girl. A young man was swung up to a beam; as much castor oil as he could hold was poured through a funnel into him, and he was left hanging there to mutter rosaries as best he could without being able to tell his beads. And that was a merciful method. The sniping and in-fighting which had characterised the AngloIrish guerrilla war of 1919-1921 were brought to only a brief halt, when both sides agreed to a tenuous truce in midsummer 1921.

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