The season will include productions of The Plough and the Stars, directed by Sean Holmes, and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. In addition there will be several new works performed by writers such as David Ireland, Sean P. Summers and Phillip McMahon.
The Plough and the Stars will run at the Abbey from 9 March – 23 April 2016 and then embark on a tour of Ireland taking in Cork Opera House; The National Opera House, Wexford; Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick and Town Hall Theatre, Galway. In addition there will be a tour of North America to Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater (Massachusetts); the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia); Montclair State University’s Peak Performances, (New Jersey) and Southern Theatre, (Ohio).
The death of Brian Friel is a great loss to the theatre. His contribution to the medium throughout the world and in Ireland in particular was immense. From Philadelphia, Here I Come! in the 60s through to The Home Place in 2005 his work made a significant impact.
In addition to his own original work he was a highly skilled adapter of plays, particularly of great Russian drama. His last work was an adaption of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. Friel made great strides in bringing wonderful work to a modern English-speaking audience.
In 1980 collaborating with actor Stephen Rea he founded Field Day Theatre Company. Field Day have played an important cultural role in Derry and throughout Ireland.
You can read more on Brian Friel in these obituaries,
Assistant Professor and designer Jennifer Saxton said of the choice of production,
“I think one reason we picked the play was that there were so many universal themes in it that struck us as relevant. It’s about family, and loyalty, the civil war turning neighbor against neighbor rather than uniting against an outside force now that they have left, what it means to be a mother, and the effects of poverty.”
The play will run from 7th October to11th October to If you want more information or to book tickets contact Elva Galvan at the University Theatre box office, (956) 665-3581.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.