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Contemporary Irish Drama: From Beckett to McGuinness (Gill's Studies in Irish Literature) [Hardcover]

Anthony Roche

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Contemporary Irish Drama: Second Edition Contemporary Irish Drama: Second Edition
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Book Description

30 Sep 1994 Gill's Studies in Irish Literature
A study of the revival of Irish drama in the last 30 years, this book comprises three main sections with an introduction and conclusion. In the first section, the author examines the playwrights who emerged in the 1950s, notably Brendan Behan, J.B. Keane and Hugh Leonard. He enlarges the context by considering the Irish dimension of Beckett's work and by identifying Beckett's seminal influence in creating an international dimension in modern Irish drama. The second section looks in depth at the careers of Brian Friel, Tom Murphy and Tom Kilroy. The last section concentrates on Northern Ireland and on the theatrical response to the political violence of the last 20 years.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1950-90: Irish playwrights against the grain 8 Dec 2004
By John L Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
A good counterpart to recent surveys by Christopher Murray and by Nicholas Grene, Dr Roche concentrates on Irish drama over roughly the post-WW2 period up to the early 1990s. His juxtapositions work energetically to open up new perspectives on Beckett--no small feat given the weight of scholarship that confronts the novice to his drama. By playing off Godot against Behan's Quare Fellow, we see that Roche's thesis--of the recent Irish drama less concerned with conventional plot than an entry into the void, what waits outside the wings of the stage--gains force.

His chapters on Tom Murphy, Friel, Tom Kilroy, and plays about "The Troubles" continue this exploration into less comforting, confrontational plays exploding (at best) stereotypical limitations of Ireland and its representation. Roche avoids jargon, constructs his points carefully and cleverly, and brings to us welcome insights and a refusal to fall into cliche as he winnows down forty-odd years of plays to concentrate on the writers best suited to challenge us today.

At one point he reflects how lucky he was to see a particular play in many performances, and how he sat "rapt." Such enthusiasm, tempered with a wide knowledge of contexts within which internationally and locally to place the drama he studies, add to the appeal and the energy found in this volume.
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