‘We have no gift to set a statesman right’: Representation, Reform, Subsidy, and Censorship
The introduction situates the Abbey Theatre's origins in the context of European Reform Theatres and examines the theatre's claim to be representative: a claim that has been subject to debate since the Abbey's foundation. Early productions that were objects of public protest—The Countess Cathleen and The Playboy of the Western World—are discussed in light of the themes of reform and representation in preparation for a further analysis of the riots over The Plough and the Stars. It argues that Shaw's O'Flaherty V.C. and St John Ervine's The Magnanimous Lover are early examples of censorship for financial and political reasons.
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