This paper analyzes Enda Walsh’s three major new plays between 2006 and 2014: The Walworth Farce (2006), Penelope (2010), and Ballyturk (2014). In this period Walsh’s work shifts from being primarily linguistically oriented to becoming much more attentive to the shape and modalities of performance. Bedbound, Misterman, The Small Things, and The Walworth Farce share a focus on aberrant and confining narrative performance, but a fault line lies between The Small Things and The Walworth Farce. The frenetic pace and surreal tone of the plays remains constant; however, there is a crucial difference in emphasis between carrying on and carrying out such a performance. In this new phase in Walsh’s dramaturgy an elaboration of ritualized, repetitive, and carefully choreographed action in symbolically charged spaces is accompanied by the fragmentation of mimetic and diegetic readability. At the heart of this work is a fundamental set of anxieties. The Walworth Farce, Penelope, and Ballyturk, each in different ways, are plays about performance and performativity vis à vis creativity and death. (CW)
The essay compares the reflections of a translator on the text of Martin McDonagh’s latest play, Hangmen (2015), with the impact of its first production by the Royal Court Theatre in London. It considers the response of multiple reviewers and of the Royal Court and West End audiences and argues that while this may be the first work by McDonagh that features a serious concern—this being the practice of capital punishment and its effect on society—the Royal Court production unduly obscured this aspect of the drama by mostly playing it only for the laughs. (OP)
Hopper, Keith, and Neil Murphy, eds. Dermot Healy: The Collected Plays. Victoria, TX: Dalkey Archive P, 2016. xxxiii + 583 pages. ISBN 978-1-56478-930-3. Pbk. $21.00/£15.00.