Frank McGuinness

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Plays by Frank McGuinness

Baglady

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Baglady was first performed at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, in March 1985.

Carthaginians

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A dramatic and poetic meditation on the history and present plight of Derry. McGuinness develops the non-naturalistic techniques of his celebrated Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, to produce a testament that is elegiac, angry, ironic and profound.

Carthaginians was first performed at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, in September 1988.

A Doll's House (trans. McGuinness)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Nora Helmer, wife to Torvald and mother of three children, appears to enjoy living the live of a pampered, indulged child. But as her economic dependence becomes brutally clear, Nora’s acceptance of the status quo undergoes a profound change. To the bewildered Torvald, himself caught in the tight web of a conservative society which demands that he exert strict control, Nora comes to see that the only possible true course of action is to leave the family home.

The Factory Girls

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Factory Girls was first performed at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin, in March 1982.

Innocence (McGuinness)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Set in Rome on May 29, 1606 (the day Caravaggio killed Rannuccio Tomassoni), this play shows the artist/hero consorting with whores and rent boys, pimping for his patron, suffering for his lust for blood and violence and, in a death-filled dream, encountering his sister who expired in childbirth, Caravaggio is depicted as an agonised, self-destructive, homosexual anarchist; yet at the same time, he is told by the Cardinal, 'You believe with a depth that is frightening and vision that is divine.'

Innocence by Frank McGuinness premiered at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in October 1986.

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

‘This powerful and subtle play… follows the experience of eight men who volunteer to serve in the 36th (Ulster) Division at the beginning of the First World War. It reaches a climax at the start of the terrible battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, the actual anniversary of the battle of the Boyne in 1690. The Somme, where the Ulster Division suffered heavy casualties, has, like the Boyne, come to have a sacred place in the Loyalist Protestant mind. It marks the Union sealed with blood. It stands for the ultimate test of Ulster’s loyalty; a blood-sacrifice to match any made by Irish nationalists.’ Times Literary Supplement

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme was revived by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 1994 as part of an acknowledgement of the peace process. The production was subsequently taken to the Edinburgh Festival in 1995 and opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Barbican Theatre, London, in March 1996.

Frank McGuinness was born in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, and now lives in Dublin and lectures in English at University College Dublin. His plays include: The Factory Girls (Abbey Theatre, Dublin, 1982), Baglady (Abbey, 1985), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Abbey, 1985; Hampstead Theatre, London, 1986), Innocence (Gate Theatre, Dublin, 1986), Carthaginians (Abbey, 1988; Hampstead, 1989), Mary and Lizzie (RSC, 1989), The Bread Man (Gate, 1991), Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Hampstead, West End and Broadway, 1992), The Bird Sanctuary (Abbey, 1994), Mutabilitie (NT, 1997), Dolly West's Kitchen (Abbey, 1999; Old Vic, 2000), Gates of Gold (Gate, 2002), Speaking Like Magpies (Swan, Stratford, 2005), There Came a Gypsy Riding (Almeida, London, 2007), Greta Garbo Came to Donegal (Tricycle Theatre, London, 2010) and The Match Box (Liverpool Playhouse Studio, 2012).His widely performed versions include Ibsen's Rosmersholm (1987), Peer Gynt (1988), Hedda Gabler (1994), A Doll's House (1997), The Lady from the Sea (2008) and John Gabriel Borkman (2010); Chekhov's Three Sisters (1990) and Uncle Vanya (1995); Lorca's Yerma (1987); Brecht's The Threepenny Opera (1991) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1997); Sophocles' Electra (1998) and Oedipus (2008); Ostrovsky's The Storm (1998); Strindberg's Miss Julie (2000); Euripides' Hecuba (2004) and Helen (2009); Racine's Phaedra (2006) and Tirso de Molina's Damned by Despair (2012).