Abstract and Keywords
Irish theatre since 1960 has been dominated by the work of major playwrights, above all Brian Friel and Tom Murphy. The changing social context of Ireland in the early 1960s out of which both writers emerged within a few years of one another is evident in their breakthrough plays, Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark (1961) and Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964). In these plays, as in The Loves of Cass Maguire (1966) and A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant (1969), Murphy and Friel devised new dramatic forms to explore the mentality of exile generated by the phenomenon of mass emigration. Exile is then transposed into a spiritual or metaphysical condition in two later plays, The Sanctuary Lamp (1975) and Faith Healer (1979).
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