By Peter James Harris
In December 1921 the Anglo-Irish Treaty was once signed, which resulted in the construction of the Irish unfastened country and the partition of eire the subsequent yr. the implications of that try to reconcile the conflicting calls for of republicans and unionists alike have dictated the process Anglo-Irish kin ever because. This ebook explores how the reception of Irish performs staged in theatres in London’s West finish serves as a barometer not just of the country of relatives among nice Britain and eire, but in addition of the healthiness of the British and Irish theatres respectively.
for every of the 8 a long time following Irish Independence a consultant construction is determined within the context of Anglo-Irish family within the interval and advancements within the theatre of the day. The first-night feedback of every creation is analysed within the mild of its political and creative context in addition to the editorial coverage of the e-book for which a given critic is writing.
the writer argues that the connection among context and feedback isn't easily one in every of reason and influence yet, quite, the results of the interaction of a couple of cultural, historic, political, inventive and private components.
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Additional resources for From Stage to Page: Critical Reception of Irish Plays in the London Theatre, 1925-1996
One can obtain a useful panorama of the London theatre scene from the generic information Wearing gives for most of the plays. Although fifty-two are unclassified and a further eighty-one are described simply as ‘play’, what is most striking is the predominance of plays that may be grouped under the general heading of ‘comedy’ (a total of 117, ranging from ‘Comedy of Irish Life’ through ‘Post-War Comedy’ to ‘Romantic Farcical Comedy’). Twenty-four of the plays are described as ‘musicals’ (including such categories as ‘Musical Comedy’, ‘Musical Dream Play’ and ‘Romantic Musical Play’).
Wearing gives detailed information for 408 productions staged at London theatres in 1925. Although his work is subtitled A Calendar of Plays and Players, his purview includes every production staged at each of fifty-one major theatres situated predominantly in the central London area. Thus, the 408 productions listed for 1925 include seventeen ballets and forty-nine operas. If one excludes these from the reckoning one is left with 342 theatrical productions for the year (given that Lionel and Clarissa is amongst the thirty longest runs considered above, consistency requires that two other comic operas are also retained in this total).
In such a climate there was predictably little demand for ‘serious drama’. The term is used here as a shorthand for what George Bernard Shaw would have described as the theatre of ideas. 1925 witnessed seventy-five such productions in London, including twenty-five of plays by William Shakespeare, sixteen by Shaw and six by Luigi Pirandello. What is immediately striking is the lack of commercial success enjoyed by these productions: the average run for a play by Shakespeare that year was eighteen performances, Shaw did better with an average of twenty-five, while Pirandello managed merely ten, a far cry from the average run of 297 performances enjoyed by the thirty leaders of the league table.