Introduced by Patrick Lonergan, The Methuen Drama Anthology of Irish Plays brings together five major works from the Irish dramatic canon of the last sixty years in one outstanding collection.
Behan's The Hostage, depicting the capture and death
of a British soldier by the IRA, was first produced by Joan
Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in 1958 and was declared 'a masterpiece' by The Times. Murphy's Bailegangaire (1985)
portrays a senile old woman's recitation of an epic tale to her two
granddaughters who struggle to free themselves from her and exorcise
the past. Reid's The Belle of the Belfast City, winner of the George Devine Award in 1986,
examines the tensions present in three generations of women in a
Belfast-Protestant family during the week of an anti-Anglo-Irish rally.
Sebastian Barry's The Steward of Christendom won the London Critics' Circle Award for Best Play 1995 and was heralded by the Guardian as 'an authentic masterpiece'. McDonagh's 1996 play The Cripple of Inishmaan is a strange comic tale in the great tradition of Irish storytelling. McDonagh was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright.