The People: Race, Gender, and Class on the Contemporary Stage

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Abstract

If the “people” were imagined as a cohesive citizenship of “ourselves alone,” contemporary Irish and Northern Irish drama give the lie to any homogeneous reckoning of community with their attention to race, class, and gender. Ireland’s increasing racial and ethnic diversity appeared in plays such as Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle’s adaptation of The Playboy of the Western World (2007), Rosaleen McDonagh’s Rings (2012) about the Traveller community, and Mirjana Rendulic’s representation of Polish immigrants in her one-woman Broken Promise Land (2013). In plays attending to class, Sebastian Barry, Marina Carr, Martin McDonagh, Conor McPherson, Mark O’Rowe, and Enda Walsh represented on stage “Tiger Trash” (a term coined by the critic Brian Merriman), while elites appeared in popular revivals of plays by Richard Brinsley Sheridan or Oscar Wilde and in recalibrations of the “big house” as seen in Tom Murphy’s The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant (2009) or Frank McGuinness’s The Hanging Gardens (2013). This essay also considers the status of women on and off the Irish stage, examining plays including Nancy Harris’s No Romance (2011) and directors such as Garry Hynes and Annie Ryan, as well as the “Waking the Feminists” movement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Irish Studies
EditorsPaige Reynolds
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter1
Pages25-46
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781108564205
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Book commission by Cambridge University Press

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