The Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage
by Sean O’Casey
directed by Ciarán O’Reilly
It’s 1921, and the Irish War of Independence rages on the streets of Dublin as Irish revolutionaries clash with British auxiliary forces. Aspiring poet Donal Davoren tries to avoid the conflict, but when Donal learns of a rumor that he is a gunman on the run, he cannot resist the curiosity it stirs in beautiful young Minnie Powers… and he cannot escape the attention of his other neighbors. As the rumor grows, the war outside moves closer to home with tragic consequences.
The Shadow of a Gunman premiered at The Abbey Theatre in 1923 to immediate success, selling out tickets for the first time in Abbey history, and establishing Sean O’Casey’s career as a playwright at age 43. The first of The Dublin Plays, this two-act work is written in O’Casey’s characteristic tragicomic style. Although it is widely considered a masterpiece, it is lesser-known than the later two Dublin Plays. Irish Rep is proud to open the O’Casey Season with this compelling work, last seen in our theater in 1999.
The Shadow of a Gunman (1923), along with Juno and the Paycock (1924) and The Plough and the Stars (1926) together make up Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy (or Dublin Plays), presented here in repertory as Irish Rep’s O’Casey Cycle, which established O’Casey as one of the major figures in modern drama. These masterpieces introduced O’Casey’s innovative playwriting style, which balances deeply comic and tragic elements in an atmosphere of stark realism. These plays premiered during a time of revolution and civil strife throughout Ireland, proving both provocative and popular, and establishing O’Casey’s legacy among the most influential and enduring playwrights in history. This spring, don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Sean O’Casey’s full Dublin Trilogy – subscribe to the O’Casey Cycle!