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.
It is deeply saddening to learn that Gabrielle Reidy has died. Her career was bookended by roles in plays by Sean O’Casey at the Abbey Theatre. Starting as a child actor in The Shadow of a Gunman in 1971 and with her last role her acclaimed performance as Bessie Burgess in The Plough and the Stars 2012.
In the intervening years she graced many productions on stage, television and film. More information is contained in her obituaries in The Guardian and The Irish Times.
To celebrate its 110th anniversary the Abbey Theatre has produced a pictorial timeline of 110 important moments in its history from Éamon de Valera’s performance in A Christmas Hamper in 1905 to their writers salons nurturing the next generation of irish playwrights. Sean O’Casey features in two of these first as a listing in the submission logbook for Plough and the Stars and then in a stark image of the Abbey damaged terribly by fire in 1951 during a production of that same play. Remarkably the cast and crew managed to perform the play at the Peacock the next night.