Dion Boucicault

Plays by Dion Boucicault

Arrah-na-Pogue

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Written in 1864 and set during the Irish rebellion of 1798, Arrah na Pogue is an rollicking tale of romance and misadventure with rascally rebels, despicable villains and love-struck youths.

As night falls on the Wicklow mountains, the popular but incorrigible rebel Beamish MacCaul is lying in wait. He’s out to ambush the cowardly rent-collector Michael Feeny and collect some rent from him in turn. That done, he’s off to marry Fanny Power. Down in the valley, love is in the air for Shaun the Post and the play’s heroine Arrah Meelish too. But Arrah has a secret, and Michael Feeny has found it out. As Shaun and Arrah celebrate their wedding, revenge comes a-calling. Now love must conquer all – including the hangman’s noose. The play is brim-full of Boucicault’s trademark comic roguery, farce and melodrama.

London Assurance

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Following the courtships and disguises of its satirical, farcical characters, London Assurance is a merry parade of wittily constructed skirmishes between love and money, town and country, nature and artifice.

The preening Sir Harcourt sets off to Oak Hall in the country in order to marry the lovely eighteen-year-old Grace, little realising that his son, Young Courtly, is simultaneously wooing the same beauty under the assumed name of Augustus Hamilton. But Sir Harcourt finds himself stirred instead by the rumbustious Lady Gay Spanker, who married an exceedingly rich bachelor out of pity, and having squashed his spirit is now ready to flirt to the hilt with the devoted Sir Hamilton. The double courtship, surrounded by a set of brilliantly comic characters, ultimately exposes the falsity of judgements based on money or fashion, as well as gleefully lampooning all manner of social eccentricities.

The first performance of London Assurance was in 1841 at Covent Garden, London.

Dion Boucicault (b. 1820) was an Irish playwright and actor, known as much for his colourful life as his enduring dramas. Called 'the most conspicuous English dramatist of the 19th century' by the New York Times, he was a great favourite of Queen Victoria, who commissioned a portrait of him to hang at Windsor Castle.

Boucicault lived on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming a theatrical innovator (championing matinees, and sensational on-stage spectacles) and, with 1895's Octoroon, one of the first authors to depict the life of black people in the US. London Assurance is probably his best known work, though other plays such as The Colleen Bawn and The Shaughraun went on to influence the next crop of Irish dramatists from Wilde to Synge and O'Casey.