The Plays of Thomas Kilroy

A Critical Study


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About the Book

The Irish Times called Thomas Kilroy “one of the most significant playwrights of modern Ireland”, while The Sunday Times has described him as “one of the outstanding living Irish playwrights and, perhaps, the most complete”. The winner of numerous honors including a special tribute from the Irish Theatre Awards in 2003, he has written fourteen plays.
This appraisal of the works of Thomas Kilroy focuses on the common themes and methodology of his plays, including an unusual alliance between serious theatrical complexity and varied but demanding forms of comedy. A separate chapter is devoted to each play with the exception of The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche and The MacAdam Travelling Theatre, whose complementary themes are discussed together. Reflecting on the essence of theatre, Kilroy’s works combine meditations on humanity with references to Irish history, generally using historical reality as a dramatic starting point. Plays discussed include Kilroy originals such as Talbot’s Box, The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde and Blake as well as adaptations of well-known works such as The Seagull, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Henry. Interviews with stage directors (L. Parker, M. Stafford-Clark, P. Mason, A.S. Paul) and the playwright himself contribute to this in-depth analysis of Kilroy’s dramatic art. Photographs of staged plays and a list of premieres of Kilroy’s works (plays and adaptations) are also included.

About the Author(s)

Thierry Dubost is a professor at the University of Caen in France.

Bibliographic Details

Thierry Dubost
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2797-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8260-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

List of Abbreviations and Dates of Publication of the Plays      xi

Preface      1

Part I: The Plays

1. The O’Neill: An Early View of Irish Identity      7

2. Encounters in The Madame MacAdam Travelling Theatre and The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche      20

3. Comic Variations in Tea and Sex and Shakespeare      33

4. Space in Talbot’s Box      44

5. Double Cross: The Faces of Betrayal      57

6. Lighting Up the Masks: The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde      69

7. Skywork for a Symphonic Theatre: Scenic Images in Blake      81

8. The Shape of Metal: Portrait of a Successful Artist      98

9. Irish Disconnections with the Former British Empire: Thomas Kilroy’s Adaptation of The Seagull      108

10. Conclusion      118

Part II: Interviews

11. An Interview with Thomas Kilroy, 2001 by Paul Brennan and Thierry Dubost      125

12. An Interview with Thomas Kilroy, March 8, 2004      137

13. An Interview with Lynne Parker, Dublin, October 30, 2003: On The Shape of Metal      155

14. A Telephone Interview with Max Stafford-Clark, June 3, 2004: On Tea and Sex and Shakespeare and The Seagull      161

15. A Telephone Interview with Patrick Mason, September 27, 2004: On Talbot’s Box, The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, and the First Irish Production of The Seagull      164

16. An Email Interview with Andrew S. Paul, December 2005: On The Seagull and Henry      174

Appendix: Premières of Thomas Kilroy’s Plays and Adaptations      181

Chapter Notes      185

Bibliography      193

Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

“this timely, necessary critical study illuminates a dynamic force in drama…recommended”—Choice.