The Playboy of the Western World and Two Other Irish Plays

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The plays that helped make modern Ireland

Riots greeted the first performance of The Playboy of the Western World at Dublin's Abbey Theatre on 26 January 1907. Eggs, potatoes and even a slice of fruit cake were hurled at the actors during subsequent performances, and it seems unlikely that much of the actual play could have been heard in the uproar. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World, with the two other plays in this volume, Yeats's The Countess Cathleen (1892) and O'Casey's Cock-a-doodle Dandy (1949), mark vital stages in the rich explosion of Irish drama that first made itself heard at the turn of the century and gathered momentum during the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Civil War.

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User Review  - libraryhermit - LibraryThing

When I was reading this whole volume of plays while in my early 20s, I believe the dramatic quality was lost on me. It would have been better for me to have seen the plays live. I will keep my eyes ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bhowell - LibraryThing

These are wonderful plays by one of Ireland's greatist writers. The Playboy of the Western World alone is worth reading. Remember when you read it that this play was a scandal when first produced and ... Read full review

About the author (1987)

J.M. Synge was born in 1871. 1n 1895 he went to Paris and in the following year met W. B. Yeats and consequently joined the Irish League. He was first a literary adviser and then a director of the Abbey Theatre, and his own plays appeared in repertory. He died in 1909.

Sean O'Casey was born in Dublin in 1880. In 1926 he moved to England. He discouraged any professional performances of his plays in Ireland after the Archbishop of Dublin refused to inaugurate the Dublin festival if his play The Drums of Father Ned (1958) was included. He died in 1964.

W. B. Yeats, the irish dramatist, poet, autobiographer, critic and occult philosopher, was born in 1865. At the age of nineteen he attended an art school in Dublin, but already his central interest was in writing. Towards the end of his life he enjoyed many honours, including the Nobel Prize and membership of the Irish Senate. He died in France in 1939.

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