- Paperback: 130 pages
- Publisher: Digireads.com (January 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1420939246
- ISBN-13: 978-1420939248
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,654,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Playboy of the Western World and Other Plays (the Complete Plays of J. M. Synge)
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About the Author
Edna O'Brien is the internationally-acclaimed author of 18 books including Down by the River, The House of Splendid Isolation, Mother Ireland, The Country Girls Trilogy, and A Fanatic Heart (all available from Plume). Born and raised in Ireland, she lives in London.
Top customer reviews
So much so that you cans find yourself mimicking , at lest in your mind, the lyrical voices of these characters
The plot is well known by now. Christy Mahon arrives at a small country inn in a panic, believing that the peelers are tracking him for the murder of his father. The locals at the inn's bar, instead of being horrified by his actions, admire his courage in taking on his father, and give the meek and timid Christy a feeling of accomplishment that he has never had at home. Pegeen Mike, daughter of the owner, hires him to work at the inn, where he becomes the focus of the town's women, both young and old, as he tells, again and again, the story of his (increasingly brave) fight with his slave-driving father. Christy, however, has eyes only for Pegeen.
The contrast between Christy and Shawn Keogh, the devout man to whom Pegeen is pledged, is hilarious, with Christy depicted as attractive and intriguing, while the traditional and saintly Shawn is shown to be boring and stuffy. Admiring Christy's "poetic" and passionate nature, Pegeen is soon in love with him. The sudden appearance of Christy's father in the village leads to the play's turning point, as the populace, embarrassed by their fawning adulation, turns against Christy.
Lively, satiric, and supremely ironic, the play is broadly farcical, and no modern audience would see it as disrespectful of any particular populace--these characters are typical of humankind with its voyeuristic fascination with criminals and criminality, and the plot line and the general themes are universal. Synge's razor sharp dialogue and his use of local dialect certainly give a sense of "Irishness" to the play, which creates local color and charm by putting the author's ideas into a specific context. The conflicts between the generations, between father and son, between the morality of the church and the immorality of real life, between passion and reason, and ultimately between love and hate make this play a rich dramatic experience, one which some might consider equal to the classic comedies of Aristophanes. n Mary Whipple
Riders to the Sea
The Shadow of the Glen (Dodo Press)
The Playboy of the Western World and Other Plays: Riders to the Sea; The Shadow of the Glen; The Tinker's Wedding; The Well of the Saints; The Playboy ... of the Sorrows (Oxford World's Classics)
I agree that reading these plays aloud is wonderful.
In a class I took, we read extended portions of "Playboy of the Western World". The class was busting, tearing up with laughter. The play is fall-over funny even if you're reading to yourself.
I just have to say though, that the plays are for performing.
A friend of mine and I did a scene as an acting exercise for a class she was taking--it was one of the scenes in which Christy courts Pegeen Mike--from "Playboy of the Western World". The audience--about 15 people--were spellbound. We looked out at dropped jaws.
This friend of mine and I did a competent job of acting. What blew the class away, really, was the ecstatic language and the infatuation one feels for the characters, their solidity, and the dramatic electricity between them... Lines from this bit come back to me, what? 20 years later? It's like music! The action goes from high tragedy to knockabout.
Well, it's what makes the Irish the Irish.
And the play's been just as good when others did it.
"Riders to the Sea" is like a religious ceremony, similar to the way that the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles are. They use choruses to much the same effect. The action is ritualized and repetitive. Idealized characters utter formula phrases. "Riders" sounds out some elemental terrain: it packs a deep sort of wallop. I'd love to see this performed.
Marvelous English theater!
Among the cast you should recognize Cyril Cusack ("Fahrenheit 451"), Milo O'Shea ("The Verdict"), and the incomparable Siobhan McKenna ("King of Kings"). And if you find yourself similarly tasked, the play speaks for itself and is as much fun (if not more) performing as viewing. Aim for a small and intimate theater; ours had a bar behind both the players and the audience. Watching the audience at times yielded a revelation. And written in 1907, is it? Read the front page of your hometown newspaper...