The Shadow of a Gunman

Tuesday night, we’ll read Sean O’Casey’s 1923 play, The Shadow of a Gunman. The play is set in May 1920 during the Irish War of Independence and is the first in O’Casey’s Dublin trilogy, that also includes Juno and the Peacock (1924) and the Plough and the Stars (1926).

Nye Heron directed a grand version of this powerful play for the BBC, starring Kenneth Branaugh and Stephen Rea. Link below.

Our cast for Tuesday night:
Donal Davoren = Mateo
Seumas Shields = Dan
Tommy Owens = Terri
Aldophos Grigson = Kimberley
Mrs. Grigson = Cori
Minnie Powell = Kelly
Mr. Mulligan = Doug
Mr. Maguire = Libby
Mrs. Henderson = Clare
Mr. Gallogher = Maureen
An Auxiliary = Kimberley
Stage directions = Rachel

We will discuss further in class, but, as you read, consider O’Casey’s treatment of themes of war, religion and cowardice. I am struck each time I read it by Donal’s repeated quotes from Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound: alas, pain, pain, ever, for ever; how the Irish view a joke as a serious thing and a serious thing as a joke; and how Donal feels at the end that it is worse to remain alive than to die as a martyr as poor Minnie Powell does.
Nessa said an interesting thing about the play last year: before this play, no one had discussed the Irish who did not want to fight and that made O’Casey unpopular.

Looking forward to hearing it out loud again.

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