Sean O'Casey Drama Analysis
In “O’Casey’s Credo,” an essay that appeared in The New York Times and was written in 1958 for the opening of an American production of Cock-a-Doodle Dandy, Sean O’Casey remarked that “the first thing I try to do is to make a play live: live as a part of life, and live in its own right as a work of drama.” This concern with the vitality of his plays marked O’Casey’s craftsmanship as a playwright throughout his career. “Every character, every life,” he continued, “[has] something to say, comic or serious, and to say it well [is] not an easy thing to do.” To express this vitality through his characters’ actions and dialogue was O’Casey’s goal as a dramatist. All of his plays share the blend of comic, serious, and poetic imagination that O’Casey believed should meld in any play worth staging.
O’Casey’s Three Periods
O’Casey’s plays fall into three periods: the early naturalistic tragicomedies, the expressionistic plays of the middle period, and the exuberant, satiric comedies that mark his later work. O’Casey was forty-three years old when his first play, The Shadow of a Gunman, was accepted by the Abbey Theatre. Behind him lay four apprentice plays and more than twenty years of hard experience in Dublin as a laborer, nationalist, and political organizer. He might easily have failed to develop his talent but for the encouragement of Lady Gregory, Yeats, and Lennox...
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