Friday, August 6, 2010

The Plough and The Stars - special offer

Says the Abbey Theatre: "We have great news for you! There are a limited number of 2 tickets for the price of 1* for the Monday 9 August performance of The Plough and the Stars.

*Special offer avaiable on full price tickets only. Offer expires midnight Friday 6 August, or unitl limit has been reached."

I went to see this last weekend. I haven't written a review yet because... gosh, where would I start? It's the closest we, the Irish, have to a national play. And it's on in our national theatre, using props that in some cases were used in the original production. This isn't like the plays I normally go to; I already know the story, both from its real historical context and having studied the play for the Leaving Cert.

It's a story of Dubliners - of varying classes and political and religious beliefs - caught up in the complex, exciting, terrible events of 1916. It's not hard to see why the play caused such controversy, being released only a decade after the events it depicts. Even today there's something momentarily shocking about hearing lines from Rule Britannia being sung in Ireland's theatre. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just... well let's be honest, it's that the Green side won and the Orange side lost, and rightly or wrongly as a country we went on to ignore one colour of our national flag, to just let it fade away.

Most of all I was struck my how deeply interesting that long-lost Ireland was. Seeing the play performed live also surprised me with the extent of the humour involved; that didn't come across when I read the script. (Well done to the actors for bringing the play alive like this.)

This is not a light evening's entertainment. It's serious and at times bleak. It is also worth seeing both for its own sake and for its historical value.


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