The W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre
Written by Sean O’Casey
Directed by Marc Atkinson Borrull
Music Director: Stephen Kennedy Murphy
Saturday, April 27 at 8pm
Sunday, April 28 at 3pm
This good-natured late O’Casey comedy is set in the Irish village of Doonavale as the villagers prepare for a Tostal celebration – a festival celebrating Irish culture. Father Ned, a catholic priest, is heard drumming to celebrate the rites of spring, and as the play goes on, the drums are interpreted by the young villagers as a symbol of love and joy. A young woman evokes Angus the Young, the Celtic god of love, insisting on observing both the Pagan and Christian ideals of joy, arguing that the Lord would have been pleased with their revelry. In the end, the joyful young people stand to become the new town leaders. In this late-in-life work, O’Casey is striking a drum for change and joy in his beloved native land.
The Drums of Father Ned was originally scheduled to premiere at the Dublin International Theatre Festival in 1958. However, the Archbishop of Dublin, though he hadn’t read the play, was upset by its themes and refused to open the festival with Mass unless it was removed along with a new adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses. When the festival committee cancelled both productions, Samuel Beckett withdrew his three mime plays from the event, and the festival was ultimately canceled. In response to this event as well as the censorship of his collection of essays, The Green Crow, Sean O’Casey refused to allow performances of his works in Ireland, lifting the ban shortly before his death in 1964. The Drums of Father Ned ultimately premiered at the Lafayette Little Theatre in Lafayette, Indiana in 1959.
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.