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By John O'Riordan

An in depth advisor and research of playwright Sean O'Casey's works - performs and Playlets- through John O'Riordan. Touches on 23 of his O'Casey's works.

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Extra resources for A Guide to O’Casey’s Plays: From the Plough to the Stars

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In The Shadow of a Gunman, Minnie is herald of a parade, in successive O'Casey dramas, of women of intangible strength - in the least likely of heroic circumstances - who outface and eclipse their menfolk and male comrades. She possesses the twin attributes, necessary for O'Casey bravery, of timidity and audacity. During the raid, in the second act, while the men in the tenement cower in their beds, the timorous Minnie, alone, assumes the initiative of courage. She dies to save Davoren, and dies instead ofhim, thus accentuating the cold cowardice of the imaginary hero and Shields and all the rest of the boastful compatriots who flaunt their 'bravery' and 'heroism'.

Occasionally, as we sat in our seats by the fire in that room, I would criticise those movements, and it was our difference of opinion - especially about movements and people- that caused our disagreements. It's fair to say each of us was stubborn about his own opinion! O'Casey, we gather from this account, was an earlier riser than O'Maolain, having dressed, breakfasted and folded his bed, long before daylight would even have penetrated the morning gaze of his fellow-lodger, who would, he owned, often purposely linger in bed listening to O'Casey moving about, singing snatches of songs from Burns.

Indeed, in the Abbey's historical repertoire, the play ranks with both Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars as one of the most frequently revived plays. By 1980, it had been revived more than three hundred times. In London, it opened at the Court Theatre, under Sir Barry Jackson's management in 1927 and ran for two months. Directed by Arthur Sinclair, an affinitive cast included Sinclair himself (a notable comedy actor offormer Abbey fame) as Shields, with Harry Hutchinson as Davoren and Sydney Morgan as Grigson.

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