Some Account of the Early Days of the INTS
When Coquelin1 came to Dublin to play Cyrano de Bergerac for the first time in Ireland, a friend of mind asked me to write a criticism2 of that great actor’s performance for a newspaper which did a great deal to arouse Ireland — tired of political squabbles that followed the fall of Parnell — to national self-consciousness again. For this paper, the United Irishman , I wrote a number of articles on theatrical topics,3 amongst others on the Irish Literary Theatre which Mr Yeats, Mr Edward Martyn, Mr George Moore and Lady Gregory had founded with the object of producing plays which they thought good dramatic literature, but which the regular theatrical manager had no reason for producing. What disturbed me about the Irish Literary Theatre was the fact that its plays — the work of Irish writers — were played by English actors who naturally were not a bit like what they were intended for. They were excellent actors, but they destroyed whatever Irish atmosphere happened to be in the plays in which they acted. My comments on the work of the Irish Literary Theatre led to my acquaintance with its leading spirit Mr Yeats; it also led to my being asked to assist in staging some tableaux of Irish historical subjects by a society of ladies — the Daughters of Erin — founded by, I think, Miss Maud Gonne. In this work I had the assistance of my brother who had spent some seven years on the regular stage, playing in all sorts and conditions of plays.
KeywordsNational Theatre Leading Spirit Irish Actor Irish Language Theatrical Topic
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- 2.Frank J. Fay, ‘M Coquelin in Dublin’, United Irishman (Dublin), 2 (1 July 1899) 1.Google Scholar
- 3.Frank J. Fay’s dramatic criticism has been collected in Towards a National Theatre , ed. Robert Hogan (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1970).Google Scholar
- 6.William Archer, ‘Irish Plays’, World (London), 12 May 1903, 784–5.Google Scholar
- 8.C. E. M[ontague], ‘Gaiety Theatre: The Irish Plays’, Manchester Guardian, 18 Feb 1909, p. 4.Google Scholar
- 9.[A. B. Walkley], ‘The Irish National Theatre’, Times Literary Supplement (London), 8 May 1903, p. 146.Google Scholar