Experimental Dramaturgy, Intellectual and Art-related Subjects in Irish Theatre

Book review:

Woodward, Guy, ed. Across the Boundaries: Talking about Thomas Kilroy. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2014. 112 pages. ISBN 978-1-909325-51-7. Pbk. €25.00

Alternative Readings of J. M. Synge’s Drama Predicated on Archival Material

Book review:

Collins, Christopher. Theatre and Residual Culture: J. M. Synge and Pre-Christian Ireland. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 301 pages. Hb. ISBN 978-1-349-94871-0. €106.99.


Introduction to the Special Section: Negotiating Aging and Ageism in English-Speaking Fiction and Theatre

Dramaturgical Roles of Present and Past Teenage Characters in Post-Agreement Northern Irish Drama

The Good Friday Agreement (1998) has set in motion significant changes in Northern Ireland, generating new conditions which, however, also brought numerous problems to the surface on various levels of society. Sociologists have called attention to how intensely the persistent afterlife of sectarian hostilities affect especially teenagers who are often unable to see their goals clearly. Several contemporary Northern Irish playwrights have relied on young characters to pinpoint timely and pressing social and cultural issues as well as to throw light on the precarity of the post-Troubles environment. This essay discusses three plays from different decades of the post-Agreement period: Gary Mitchell’s Trust (1999), Lucy Caldwell’s Leaves (2007), and Owen McCafferty’s Quietly (2012). Their respective dramaturgies showcase the long-lasting influence of the historical burden of the Northern Irish conflict on young peoples’ subjectivities as well as demonstrate how middle-aged characters are still haunted by memories of the psychic wounds they suffered during the most formative years of their lives. Through their underage protagonists, each playwright suggests that members of this generation might not be able to further strengthen the peace they have formally inherited. (MK)

A Novel Inquiry into a Strategic Aspect of Irish Women’s Theatre across a Century

Book review:

Hill, Shonagh. Women and Embodied Mythmaking in Irish Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2019. 257 pages. ISBN 978-1-108-48533-3. Hb. ₤75.

Women in Contemporary Irish Theatre: Widening the Space

Book review:

Haughton, Miriam, and Mária Kurdi, eds. Radical Contemporary Theatre Practices by Women in Ireland. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2015. 251 pages. ISBN 978-1-909325-75-3. Pbk. €20.

"The Very Seeds of Fire”: Chris Lee’s The Map Maker’s Sorrow

Chris Lee’s The Map Maker’s Sorrow (1999), produced at the Abbey Theatre only six years after Ireland decriminalized suicide, proved prescient in focusing on this national health problem among the young. The very structure of the play mirrors the fragmentation and messy aftermath that suicide almost inevitably produces. The abrupt beginning, where a character that the audience does not know and cannot know kills himself, leaves the audience in a position similar to that of survivors who find a suicide. Drawing on the work of Ludwig Binswanger, Kay Renfield Jamison, and national studies of suicide the essay argues that young Jason’s suicide represents a direct challenge to life understood as an orderly progression from birth to death and as an attempt to deny the very premise of lived life itself. (DEM)

Honoring Professor Mária Kurdi

Book review:

Csikai, Zsuzsa, and Rouse, Andrew C., eds. Critical Essays in Honour of Mária Kurdi. Tanulmányok Kurdi Mária tiszteletére. Martonfa: SPECHEL e-editions, 2017. 243 pages. ISBN 978-963-12-9291-6. E-book. 747 HUF.