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Encyclopedia > Sean O'Casey
Sean O'Casey
Sean O'Casey

Sean O'Casey (March 30, 1880 - September 18, 1964) was a major Irish dramatist and memorist. A committed nationalist and socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes. His plays are particularly noted for his sympathetic treatment of his female characters. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (882x1161, 945 KB)Irish Stamp, Sean O Casey This image of a postage stamp may be copyrighted and/or have other restrictions on its reproduction imposed by the issuing authority. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (882x1161, 945 KB)Irish Stamp, Sean O Casey This image of a postage stamp may be copyrighted and/or have other restrictions on its reproduction imposed by the issuing authority. ... March 30 is the 89th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (90th in Leap years). ... 1880 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... September 18 is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years). ... 1964 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... A memoir, as a literary genre, forms a sub-class of autobiography. ... Nationalism is an ideology that creates and sustains a nation as a concept of a common identity for groups of humans. ... The color red and particularly the red flag are traditional symbols of Socialism. ... Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath),is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland, located near the midpoint of Irelands east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and at the centre of the Dublin region. ...

Contents


Early Life

O'Casey was born John Cassidy in the north inner city area of Dublin, Ireland. It is commonly assumed that he grew up in the tenement world in which many of his plays are set. In fact, his family belonged to that social class that was known as "shabby genteel". His mother, Susan, was a staunch Protestant, but his father, Michael Cassidy from County Wicklow, may have been more Catholic than his wife would have had the family believe, according to Garry O'Connor's biography of O'Casey; given that the Vatican had not yet instated the ne temere and given that his mother was a strong-willed woman and that his father tended to follow her instructions or directives, Michael Cassidy may have hidden his true faith while he acted as caretaker for the house in which they lived in return for rent-free accommodation. This article is about the city in Ireland. ... Wicklow (Cill Mhantáin in Irish) is a county on the east coast of Ireland, immediately south of Dublin. ... Garry OConnor (born May 7, 1983) is a professional footballer who currently plays for Hibernian Football Club in the Scottish Premier League. ...


O'Casey's father died when he was sick and the family lived a peripatetic life thereafter, moving from house to house around north Dublin. As a child, he suffered from poor eyesight, which interfered somewhat with his early education. He left school at the age of fourteen and worked at a variety of jobs, including a nine-year stint as a railwayman. From the early 1890s, Sean and his older brother Archie put on performances of plays by Dion Boucicault and William Shakespeare in the family home. Sean also got a small part in Boucicault's The Shaughraun in the Mechanics' Theatre, which stood on what was to be the site of the Abbey Theatre. Poster for a production of Boucicaults farce Contempt of Court, c. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The Mechanics Hall, also known as the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties was a theatre and music hall in Lower Abbey Street, Dublin. ... A poster for the opening run at the Abbey Theatre from 27 December, 1904 to 3 January, 1905. ...


Politics

As his interest in the Irish nationalist cause grew, O'Casey joined the Gaelic League in 1906 and learned the Irish language. He also learned to play the Irish pipes and was a founder and Secretary of the St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band. He soon joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and became involved in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, which had been established by Jim Larkin to represent the interests of the unskilled labourers who inhabited the Dublin tenements. In 1914, he became General Secretary of Jim Larkin's Irish Citizen Army, which would soon be run by James Connolly. Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League) is an organization for the purpose of keeping the Irish language spoken in Ireland. ... 1906 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Irish (Gaeilge in Irish), a Goidelic language spoken in Ireland, the UK, and the USA, is constitutionally recognised as the first official language of the Republic of Ireland. ... The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) played an important role in the history of Ireland. ... The Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) was established by Jim Larkin in December 1908, after his expulsion from the British National Dock Labourers Union (NDLU). ... Statue of James Larkin on OConnell Street James (Big Jim) Larkin (1874-1947), an Irish trade union leader and socialist activist was born in Liverpool, England on 28 January 1874, of Irish parents. ... 1914 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... Statue of James Larkin on OConnell Street James (Big Jim) Larkin (1874-1947), an Irish trade union leader and socialist activist was born in Liverpool, England on 28 January 1874, of Irish parents. ... The Irish Citizen Army, or ICA, was a small band of trained volunteers established in Dublin for the defense of worker’s rights. ... There are two well-known individuals named James Connolly: James Connolly - Irish socialist republican James Connolly - American athlete This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


O'Casey and the Abbey

O'Casey's first accepted play, The Shadow of a Gunman was performed on the stage of the Abbey Theatre in 1923. This was the beginning of a relationship that was to be fruitful for both theatre and dramatist, but that ended in some bitterness. The play deals with the impact of revolutionary politics on Dublin's slums and their inhabitants. It was followed by Juno and the Paycock (1924) and The Plough and the Stars (1926), probably O'Casey's two finest plays. Both deal with the impact of the Irish Civil War on the working class poor of the city. The Plough and the Stars, an anti-war play, was misinterpreted by the Abbey audience as being anti-nationalist and resulted in scenes reminiscent of the riots that greeted Synge's The Playboy of the Western World in 1907. The success of these plays enabled O'Casey to give up his job and become a full-time writer. 1923 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Juno and the Paycock is a 1930 British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on a play by Sean OCasey and starring Edward Chapman and Sara Allgood. ... 1924 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1926 was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Irish Civil War (June 1922–April 1923) was a conflict between supporters and opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 6, 1921, which established the Irish Free State, precursor of todays Republic of Ireland. ... John Millington Synge John Millington Synge (April 16, 1871 - March 24, 1909) was an Irish dramatist, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. ... 1907 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


Juno and the Paycock was successfully filmed by Alfred Hitchcock. In 1959 O'Casey gave his blessing to a musical adaptation of the play by American composer Marc Blitzstein. The musical, retitled Juno, was a critical failure. Juno and the Paycock is a 1930 British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on a play by Sean OCasey and starring Edward Chapman and Sara Allgood. ... Alfred Hitchcock Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE, (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was a British-born American film director closely associated with the thriller genre. ... Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964) was an American composer. ... Juno -Musical play based on Sean OCaseys 1924 play Juno and the Paycock. ...


England

In 1929, W. B. Yeats rejected O'Casey's fourth play, The Silver Tassie for the Abbey. Already upset by the violent reaction to The Plough and the Stars, O'Casey decided to sever all ties with the Abbey and moved to England, where he spent the rest of his life. The plays he wrote after this, including Within the Gates (1934), Purple Dust (1940), and Red Roses for Me (1943), saw a move away from his early style towards a more expressionistic and overtly socialist mode of writing. These plays have never had the same critical or popular success as the early trilogy. In his later years, O'Casey ceased writing for the stage and put all his creative energy into his highly entertaining and interesting six-volume Autobiography. 1929 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... A 1907 engraving of Yeats. ... 1934 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1940 was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1943 is a common year starting on Friday. ... On White II by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. ...


References

Print

  • Igoe, Vivien. A Literary Guide to Dublin. (Methuen, 1994) ISBN 0-4136912-0-9
  • Ryan, Philip B. The Lost Theatres of Dublin. (The Badger Press, 1998) ISBN 0-9526076-1-1

Online

  • O'Casey at Today in Literature
  • O'Casey at Art and Culture
  • Bibliography
  • Sean O'Casey - Portrait of the artist as an outsider

 
 

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