The W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre
Directed by Tim Ruddy
Saturday, March 2 at 8pm
Sunday, March 3 at 3pm
It’s the Dublin Lockout of 1913,* and Ayamonn Breydon, a Protestant laborer and strike leader with poetic aspirations, fights alongside his fellow workers while struggling with his own personal and religious conflicts. The lockout and family expectations threaten his romance with the Catholic Sheila. Inundated with contradicting opinions from the people in his life, Ayamonn strives to be true to his own identity and beliefs.
After a few less popular experimental works, O’Casey found critical and commercial success again with Red Roses for Me. Protagonist Ayamonn Breydon is often considered to be a loosely-drawn self-portrait, and the character addresses a number of personal dilemmas in addition to political storylines. Critics praise this work for its lyrical language and use of symbolism. Red Roses for Me premiered in Dublin in 1943 during a period of labor disputes that made the play’s focus on the events of 1913 particularly timely.
*The Dublin Lockout of 1913 was one of the largest industrial protests in Irish History, with 20,000 workers striking against 300 employers. Sean O’Casey was an active participant in the labor movement, and he served as Secretary of the Irish Citizen Army, a paramilitary organization that defended striking workers against the police. Before the strike, Dublin’s unskilled worker population was plagued with poverty and suffered horrible working conditions. When workers tried to unionize, employers retaliated by locking them out. The Lockout lasted for seven months before starving workers returned to work, signing pledges not to join the union. Although the 1913 strike was temporarily unsuccessful, it set a precedent for worker solidarity in Ireland that increased bargaining power and union strength over time.
All readings are free to attend. Invitations were sent via email. To request an invitation, call the Irish Rep box office at 212-727-2737.