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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the late 1950s Thomas Kilroy wrote a series of formative articles, which collectively form something like a manifesto for Irish theatre since 1960. ‘In the past twenty years,’ Kilroy wrote in ‘Groundwork for an Irish Theatre’, ‘few Irish dramatists have been in any way exciting technically.’ Responding to Hugh Leonard’s scenographically original Stephen D (1962) and Brian Friel’s experiments with memory and subjectivity in Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964), Kilroy answered his own challenge in the innovative form and subjects of his drama: the metatheatrical history play The O’Neill (1969); the radical treatment of the then taboo theme of homosexuality in The Death and Resurrection of Mr Roche (1968); the surreal Tea and Sex and Shakespeare (1976); and the brilliantly inventive use of scenic space in the dramatization of the life of Matt Talbot in Talbot’s Box (1977).

Keywords: ‘Groundwork for an Irish Theatre’, homosexuality, The O’Neill, The Death and Resurrection of Mr Roche, Tea and Sex and Shakespeare, Talbot’s Box

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