By John O'Riordan
An in depth consultant and research of playwright Sean O'Casey's works - performs and Playlets- by way of John O'Riordan. Touches on 23 of his O'Casey's works.
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An intensive consultant and research of playwright Sean O'Casey's works - performs and Playlets- by means of John O'Riordan. Touches on 23 of his O'Casey's works.
Extra info for A Guide to O’Casey’s Plays: From the Plough to the Stars
Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh'. Shaw himself might almost have been referring to O'Casey when he stated on another occasion: 'There is nothing that marks the born dramatist more unmistakably than this discovery of comedy in his. own misfortunes almost in proportion to the pathos with which the ordinary man announces their tragedy'. The duality ofO'Casey's early plays, especially as exemplified in Juno and the Paycock, has led to extremes in shifts of critical opinion invoking both comical and tragic muses in the unusual synthesis of Melpomene and Thalia conjoined in surprising wedlock.
As reward for her interest and affections, Donal is prepared to romanticise himself as a gunman-poet, to satisfy the fabrication of her false hero-worship. Only when the hero, in the second act, proves to be a fictitious entity does Minnie's heroism become the only heroic criterion in the play. Minnie is a heroine by default, because the male counterparts, in this and most O'Casey tragedies, are too full of blarney and braggadocio to live up to any heroic expectations. In The Shadow of a Gunman, Minnie is herald of a parade, in successive O'Casey dramas, of women of intangible strength - in the least likely of heroic circumstances - who outface and eclipse their menfolk and male comrades.
In the play, 'life is seen as farce', observes Raymond Williams, 'with death cutting across it'. One moment we are laughing at an intrusive drunk and the next we are mourning a bereaved mother, keening over the death of her soldier son at the hands of revolutionaries. Yet it is this blend offarce and tragedy (which Chekhov, in his plays, effected so beguilingly) that gives O'Casey his enchanting flavour as a dramatist- and also makes him difficult to produce. O'Casey's rousing masterpiece, Juno and the Paycock, is the play most audiences associate with him, and it is the one which, perhaps, most epitomises his extraordinary dramatic technique and style.