Reviews

There’s Politeness an’ Politeness in It

In 1926, when an already-censored Plough and the Stars opened at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the crowd, taking offense at uniformed actors carrying the flag of the Irish Volunteers, rioted, throwing objects at the stage, setting off stink bombs, and fighting with the actors. Barry Fitzgerald, living up to the spirit his character, Fluther […]

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Reviews

Do the Insurance Companies Pay if a Man Is Shot after Curfew?

On the eve of partition, Donal Davoren (Adam Petherbridge, the understudy, in the performance I attended) is just trying to write some verse.  Living in a cramped Dublin tenement visited by a rotating cast of caricatures, Davoren is constantly interrupted by the havering of his neighbors, who are under the impression that he is an […]

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Reviews

Further Disclosure: I Am a Clown

Bill Irwin—who reminds us several times throughout On Beckett that he is in his “dotage”—is a member of a fading profession.  In the ‘seventies, he trained at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, a defunct school named after a company that closed after over a century just last year.  The vaudeville tradition he adores […]

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Reviews

Ask Not for Whom the Drum Beats

One of Eugene O’Neill’s earliest successes, The Emperor Jones finds its title character ruling an unnamed island in the Caribbean.  Having fled American justice, Brutus Jones (Obi Abili) exploits the superstitions of the local population to squeeze them dry, convincing them he can only be killed by a silver bullet.  When the Cockney trader Henry Smithers (Andy Murray) […]

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Reviews

Yes

In his lifetime, James Joyce considered the possibility of having Ulysses adapted into a movie—and even met once with Sergei Eisenstein about it.  After his death, two attempts were made in English: Joseph Strick’s 1967 Ulysses and Sean Walsh’s 2003 Bloom, both of which—like Marleen Gorris’ 1997 Mrs. Dalloway—sacrifice the spirit of the great novel […]

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