pike theatre, jack b. Yeats, Thomas Kilroy, modernism, dramaturgy, Irish theatre, avant garde, donagh macdonagh, una troy, ria mooney, maurice meldon, barry cassin, postdramatic, performance, carnivalesque, 37 theatre club, lyric theatre,
This book examines the experimental
Irish theatre that ran counter to the conventional naturalistic ‘peasant’ drama
that became synonymous with Irish playwriting. In doing this, it offers a new
reading of Irish theatre history by charting an alternative avant garde
tradition that links the experimentations of the early Irish theatre movement
with the innovations of contemporary Irish and international drama, by focusing
on the theatrical output of four marginalised playwrights that premiered works after the death of W. B.
Yeats and before the first staging of Samuel Beckett’s seminal En attendant Godot. Drawing on archival
material never before published this study rediscovers the vibrant and
dissenting smaller theatres, companies and playwrights of that era. Experimental Irish Theatre explores the
formally innovative postdramatic plays of Jack B. Yeats first produced by the
Abbey Experimental Theatre Company, the expressionistic dramas of Maurice
Meldon written for the 37 Theatre Club, Donagh MacDonagh’s internationally
successful verse play, Happy as Larry
first produced by The Lyric Theatre Company before conquering the West End and
opening on Broadway and Elisabeth Connor’s subversive comedies of gender at the
Abbey theatre. In its concentration on the margins of Irish theatre and its
emphasis on the performative rather than literary affects of the plays, this
book offers a fresh alternative telling of the Irish theatrical story,
important works are recovered and the breadth of the Irish canon is widened.
This should make it an attractive and satisfying book to readers of theatre
history, performance studies, Irish studies, Yeats and Beckett studies,
feminist theatre studies, modernism and the historical avant garde.