The internal exile : contemporary Irish playwriting and theatrical production.
In recent years Ireland, North and South, has undergone a period of rapid transition.
Social and economic advancements in the South and political developments in the
North have brought benefits, but have also created for some a sense of confusion and
disorientation. Many have become caught between the residual problems of the past
and the impact of the new. In the ongoing process of redefining boundaries and
attempting to build a more inclusive society, it is important to be aware of the
dislocation which exists among groups and individuals in the current cultural climate.
My experience of these changing times has been, broadly speaking, as a female Catholic
from a middle-class, nationalist background. It is from this perspective that I have
explored a variety of political, religious and gender issues, related to the overriding
theme of the internal exile in contemporary Irish theatre. Specific chapters address
Chapter one provides a historical and cultural context which seeks to place the theme
within the macrocosm of a society undergoing change, in addition to outlining the way
in which it is represented in and affected by contemporary Irish drama.
Chapter two is entitled 'States of mind and the lyricism of theatrical conventions'. It
explores a selection of post-sixties plays and identifies a number of different styles of
theatre which are being practised in Ireland at the present time.
Chapter three discusses the politics of spirituality in relation to Brian Friel's Dancing at
Chapter four focuses on three plays by Marina Carr and considers the role of women.
Chapter five looks at politics and gender in two plays about Oscar Wilde; Saint Oscar by
Terry Eagleton and The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde by Thomas Kilroy.
Chapter six involves a consideration of the political situation in Northern Ireland in
respect of the peace process and post-cease-fire plays by a number of playwrights such as
Gary Mitchell, Declan Gorman and Michael Harding.