With Ciarán O’Reilly, Úna Clancy, and James Pethica
Irish literary scholar James Pethica (Professor of Theater and English, Williams College), actor Úna Clancy (Lady G: Plays and Whisperings of Lady Gregory), and director Ciarán O’Reilly (Dublin Carol) discuss the history and impact of Lady Gregory and the creation of recent Irish Rep production Lady G: Plays and Whisperings of Lady Gregory.
LADY AUGUSTA GREGORY
(1852-1932) Lady Gregory was an Irish playwright, folklorist, theatre director, and patron remembered as a major figure in the Irish Literary Revival and co-founder of The Abbey Theatre. She was born Isabella Augusta Persse in County Galway, Ireland, to an Anglo-Irish gentry family. She married Sir William Gregory in 1880, and the couple participated in the literary and artistic salons of London. When Sir William died in 1892, Lady Gregory returned to Ireland and rediscovered an interest in the Irish language and Irish folklore, which she collected and published while organizing Irish lessons. In 1896, she met Yeats and became invested in creating an Irish national theatre as a patron, fundraiser, administrator, and playwright, eventually founding the Abbey Theatre and remaining an active director until declining health led her to retire in 1928.
James L. Pethica teaches in the Theatre and English Departments at Williams College. He has published widely in Irish literature – particularly on W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and the Abbey Theatre – as well as Modern drama and poetry, and contemporary poetry. Winner of the Shakespeare Prize as an undergraduate at Merton College, Oxford, Pethica received his D. Phil. from Oxford in 1987. He is the immediate past director of the Yeats International Summer School. Pethica is currently completing the authorized biography of Lady Gregory for Oxford University Press, as well as a volume on Gregory’s collaborations with Yeats.
Úna Clancy played Lady Augusta Gregory in Irish Rep’s Lady G: Plays and Whisperings of Lady Gregory, and Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Tancred and Mrs. Gogan in Irish Rep’s The O’Casey Cycle . For Trinity Players Dublin, she performed in Travesties, The Country Wife and The Lark, among other plays. At the Dublin Theatre Festival she worked with Moveable Feast Theater Company, under the direction of Robert Gordon of London’s Guild Hall. She is a member of The Drilling Company, N.Y., where she has performed in Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and All’s Well That Ends Well. With WalkupArts she did The Jester and The Dragon, a one-woman-show at The Tank. She has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival many times. Thank you to Ciarán and Charlotte for keeping the spirit of Lady Gregory alive in the work you do here.
Favorite directing credits include: Lady G: Plays and Whisperings of Lady Gregory, Dublin Carol, The Shadow of a Gunman, The Seafarer, The Dead, 1904, Shining City, Off the Meter, On the Record, The Weir (Calloway Nom.), Banished Children of Eve, The Emperor Jones, (Callaway Award, O’Neill Credo Award, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Lucille Lortel Nom.), The Hairy Ape (Drama Desk Drama League and Callaway Nom.), Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Drama Desk Nom). Irish Rep acting roles include Da, Juno and the Paycock, Dancing at Lughnasa, Molly Sweeney, Candida, Aristocrats, A Whistle in the Dark, The Shaughraun, and The Irish and How They Got That Way. He appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of A Touch of the Poet with Gabriel Byrne. He has appeared at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and made his Broadway debut in The Corn is Green. Films include “The Devil’s Own” (starring Harrison Ford), “Law & Order,” “The Irish…and How They Got That Way,” “Third Watch,” “Bored to Death,” and “The Knick.” Ciarán has recently been inducted in to the Irish America Hall of Fame and has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad, 2019 by President Michael D. Higgins.