Contemporary Irish Drama & Cultural Identity by Margaret Llewellyn-Jones

By Margaret Llewellyn-Jones

Exploring the works of Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Tom Murphy, and Thomas Kilroy, the writer offers an advent at the historic context of Irish tradition, with specific recognition being paid to the works played within the Nineteen Nineties.

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36), are undermined by the variety of these fabricated life stories. Keeney’s suggestion that discovery of ancestors is a voyage of self-discovery illustrates the slippery nature of cultural identity. His first version of Leif’s life in a Viking post and wattle house is relatively restrained. Pyne’s more mythic version links Leif to the discovery of America and an Indian wife, whose Otherness is held fatally responsible for Leif’s brother’s death (pp. 6–63). Keeney later relates Leif’s life as a viola player, son of a bankrupt merchant, who carried messages for subversives – thus unkindly echoing aspects of the life of Knox, one of the prisoners (pp.

For each an individual way of dealing with it. Maguire is ecstatic, Mary Anne severe […] Agnes lies down […] strokes the branch against thighs, breasts, face […] Packy’s grotesque gestures convey delight […] SCHOOL GIRL Holy Spirit is the rising sap […] Holy Spirit is the rising sap […] (pp. 42–5) Interludes involving choreographed waving of church collection boxes are more overtly satirical, an irony enhanced by the priest who, although offering the host, elsewhere performs other magic, that is, conjuring tricks.

What Kate calls ‘old pagan songs’ not 35 Contemporary Irish Drama & Cultural Identity only prompt dances but provide a playfully ironic edge to the domestic situation – for example, ‘Anything Goes! , p. 64). Unfortunately, everything they have will eventually be lost. Although in the theatre it is easy for the audience to be swept up emotionally into the energy of this first dance, it is crucial to remember that Friel emphasises its grotesque and hysterical quality. It is not a purely celebratory dance, as the misplaced position and treatment in the film implies.

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