Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered Parallels With The Silver Tassie

Maugham retouched
Howard Davies production of Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester is receiving very positive reviews, building on the success of his production of The Silver Tassie at the National Theatre last year.

Michael Billington in his Guardian review points out the parallels between the two works. Both plays use an examination of family to make, “attack[s] on the destructive consequences of war”. While The Silver Tassie takes you to the battlefield For Services Rendered remains inside the family dynamic.

First performed in 1932 in the West End the play was not well received as its anti-war message was not popular at the time. The work received a handful of revivals, including a TV version by Granada in 1959. Howard Davies production is now bringing this play and its message back to the British stage.

The Shadow of a Gunman at the Abbey Theatre: Reviews

The Abbey Theatre and  The Lyric Theatre’s co-production of  The Shadow of a Gunman is running on the Abbey Stage in Dublin until the 1st of August.

Wayne Jordan’s production, starring  Mark O’Halloran,  Amy McAllister and  David Ganly,  has received an enthusiastic reception.

  • “High theatrical energy is kept aloft by the colourful parade of O’Casey’s tenement dwellers, and equally the parade of O’Casey’s brilliant writing talent.”
  • “Nothing is more absurd in O’Casey’s 1923 play than the notion that art couldbe indifferent to politics. Set just three years earlier, itsnear-vaudevillian succession of intrusions leading towards something more shattering, was first performed during a vicious Civil War. It was a dangerous weapon itself, a tragedy played for laughs.”
  • “The drama packs a punch…  as O’Casey reminds us ‘it’s the civilians who suffer’.”
  • “All poses have dropped away, and this impressively lucid production leaves us with the question: what would we have done in his place?”

Book now online or contact the Abbey Theatre box office at,  0035-3187 87222.

Aideen O’Kelly, Irish Actor, 1940 – 2015

It is sad to note the death of  Aideen O’Kelly last month. She began her career with the Abbey Theatre  in  1964 playing Mrs Gogan  in  The  Plough and the Stars.  She notably  played  Fionnuala  in  Red  Roses  for  Me  in  addition  to many  other  roles  at  the Abbey.

In  the  1980s  she  moved  to  New  York  and  achieved  acclaim  for  her  acting  on  Broadway.

East Wall Celebrates Sean O’Casey

This wonderful video by Near TV Productions is a record by the people of the East Wall of the celebrations they arranged to commemorated the 50th year of Sean O’Casey’s death on September the 18th 2014.

It is a fascinating piece that brings to life the time that Sean lived and worked in the area. The people of the Sean O’Casey Community Centre give readings from the autobiographies and act out scenes from the plays and autobiographies; well chosen and well acted.

It is very moving indeed to see. Thanks to Mairéad Ní Choísóig, all the people of the Sean O’Casey Community Centre and the East Wall for remembering Sean’s anniversary and filling it with life.

Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks Includes The Plough and the Stars

Sackville Street (Dublin) after the 1916 Easter Rising
Sackville (now O’Connell) Street, Dublin, after the 1916 Easter Rising
The Irish Times is running a series of articles looking at modern Ireland through artworks in various media. The Plough and the Stars has been included with an article by Fintan O’Toole looking at the context of the play and its impact.

It was not unreasonable to expect that the Abbey would mark the [tenth] anniversary [of the Easter Rising] respectfully. Instead it presented Seán O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, which presented the Rising through the experiences of those who suffered most in Easter Week: the Dublin slum dwellers unwillingly thrust on to the frontline. And it suggested that, for them, the great event had brought nothing but deeper misery.

The article looks at how W.B. Yates defended the play and importance of the ability to accept failings and ambiguities as a mark of a mature nation.

The series of articles looks at many different artworks and their impact on Ireland and the wider world.

Rod Taylor, Australian Actor and Young Cassidy, 1930 – 2015

Rod Taylor, died at home inRod Taylor - 1967 Los Angeles on January 7th at the age of 84. A strong leading man, he played many notable roles through his career including Johnny in the Sean O’Casey biopic Young Cassidy in 1965.

He played alongside many other great actors in notable films such as GiantOne Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Birds and Zabriskie Point.

Announcing his death Rod’s daughter Felicia Taylor said in a statement:

“My dad loved his work. Being an actor was his passion – calling it an honorable art and something he couldn’t live without.”

Further obituaries and articles,

 

Professor N. Dharmarajan, Translating Ideas Across Cultures

Prof. N. Dharmarajan
Prof. N. Dharmarajan. Photo: R. Ashok

Professor N. Dharmarajan has worked for 56 years translating over 170 works from various languages into Tamil. In an article in The Hindu we have learned that his very first work of translation was Sean O’ Casey’s The Worker Blows the Bugle appearing as Uzhaippaliyin Sanganatham in Janasakthi in 1958.

Professor Dharmarajan’s work includes translating many works into Tamil including all the works of Tolstoy (excluding War and Peace).  The work of a translator in bridging works and ideas across cultures is not an easy one and Professor Dharmarajan is responsible with introducing several new coinages into Tamil.

We are very proud indeed that Professor Dharmarajan’s wonderful journey began with a step hand in hand with Sean.