Contemporary Ireland On Stage Essay

Final essay 60% (3000 words) Tuesday 3 May at 2pm –
Deliver to Drama and Film Studies Administrator, C218, Newman Building
1. “The tendency of a nation towards xenophobia or insularity can beresisted by its own narrative resources to imagine itself otherwise”?(Richard Kearney) Discuss this statement, in relation to theatre, making close reference to two plays/productions on your course.

2. In Tom Kilroy’s stage direction to Talbot’s Box (1979), the set is described as “a primitive, enclosed space, part-prison, part-sanctuary, part-acting space”. This description almost perfectly situates virtually all of Irish drama in the last twenty years.
3. Contemporary Irish plays explore the “irresolvable conflict betweenentrapment and unhomeliness”? (Anna McMullan) Discuss this statement withclose reference to the work of two contemporary Irish playwrights onyour course.

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4. Despite all the changes to the material wealth of Ireland during the Celtic Tiger period (1993-2007), so many of Ireland’s playwrights set their works in contexts of subsistence living and destitution. Regularly, there appears to be a sentimentalising of poverty, a romanticisation of difference, and characterisations based on a tendency towards histrionics (Pilkington), rather than more precise and critical interrogations of broader systemic civic injustices.

5.’Irish plays and/or performances can no longer rely on agreed national images, and actively work to challenge them.’ Discuss with detailed reference to two plays or performances on your module.

6. How do contemporary Irish plays construct audiences as voyeurs, as witnesses, as participants, and/or as judges? Discuss with close reference to two plays on your module.
7. Most plays are about families and the shock of change. Discuss this statement (based on Frank McGuinness’s comment on The Hanging Gardens) with close reference to two plays on your module.

Please include references to at least six critical sources.


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