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Three Plays   By: (1881-1972)

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THREE PLAYS

THE FIDDLER'S HOUSE THE LAND THOMAS MUSKERRY

BY PADRAIC COLUM

BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

1916

TO MY FRIEND THOMAS HUGHES KELLY THESE THREE IRISH PLAYS

AUTHOR'S NOTE

I have been asked to say something about the intentions and ideas that underlie the three short plays in this volume.

These plays were conceived in the early days of the Irish National Theatre. I had been one of the group that formed the National Theatre Society and I wrote plays for players who were my colleagues and my instructors; I wrote them for a small, barely furnished stage in a small theatre; I wrote them, too, for an audience that was tremendously interested in every expression of national character. "The Land" was written to celebrate the redemption of the soil of Ireland an event made possible by the Land Act of 1903. This event, as it represented the passing of Irish acres from an alien landlordism, was considered to be of national importance. "The Land" also dealt with a movement that ran counter to the rooting of the Celtic people in the soil emigration the emigration to America of the young and the fit. In "The Land" I tried to show that it was not altogether an economic necessity that was driving young men and women out of the Irish rural districts; the lack of life and the lack of freedom there had much to do with emigration.

"The Land" touched upon a typical conflict, the conflict between the individual and that which, in Ireland, has much authority, the family group. This particular conflict was shown again in "The Fiddler's House." where the life, not of the actual peasants, but of rural people with artistic and aristocratic traditions, was shown.

I tried to show the same conflict working out more tragically in the play of middle class life, "Thomas Muskerry." Here I went above the peasant and the wandering artist and came to the official. I had intended to make plays about the merchant, the landowner, the political and the intellectual leader and so write a chapter in an Irish Human Comedy. But while I was thinking of the play that is third in this volume my connection with the National Theatre Society was broken off. "Thomas Muskerry" was produced in the Abbey Theatre after I had ceased to be a member of the group that had founded it.

PADRAIC COLUM NEW YORK August, 1916

CONTENTS

AUTHOR'S NOTE THE FIDDLER'S HOUSE THE LAND: AN AGRARIAN COMEDY IN THREE ACTS THOMAS MUSKERRY

THE FIDDLER'S HOUSE

CHARACTERS

CONN HOURICAN, a Fiddler. MAIRE (Mary) [1] HOURICAN, his daughter. ANNE HOURICAN, a younger daughter. BRIAN MACCONNELL, a younger farmer. JAMES MOYNIHAN, a farmer's son.

The action passes in the Houricans' house in the Irish Midlands.

[Footnote 1: The name is pronounced as if written "Maurya."]

ACT I

SCENE: The interior of a farmer's cottage; the kitchen. The entrance is at the back right. To the left is the fire place, an open hearth, with a fire of peat. There is a room door to the right, a pace below the entrance; and another room door below the fire place. Between the room door and the entrance there is a row of wooden pegs, on which men's coats hang. Below this door is a dresser containing pretty delpht. There is a small window at back, a settle bed folded into a high bench; a small mirror hangs right of the window. A backed chair and some stools are about the hearth. A table to the right with cloth and tea things on it. The cottage looks pretty and comfortable. It is towards the close of an Autumn day .

James Moynihan has finished tea; Anne Hourican is at the back, seated on the settle knitting, and watching James. James Moynihan is about twenty eight. He has a good forehead, but his face is indeterminate. He has been working in the fields, and is dressed in trousers, shirt, and heavy boots. Anne Hourican is a pretty, dark haired girl of about nineteen .

James Moynihan rises ... Continue reading book >>




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