Seven Plays

irish-womenBy Lee Anna Sherman

The seven plays collected in the soon-to-be released anthology Irish Women Dramatists 1908 – 2001 (Syracuse University Press, November 2014), edited by Eileen Kearney and Charlotte Headrick, delve into universal themes ranging from friendship in old age to childbirth out of wedlock. They are:

Lady Augusta Gregory
The Workhouse Ward (1908)
This one-act comedy is about the quarrelsome yet codependent bond of two infirm old men living in a late-18th century workhouse.

Teresa Deevy
The King of Spain’s Daughter (1935)
An imaginative, dreamy young woman faces a cruel choice in this play: enter a loveless marriage or go to work in a factory.

Anne Le Marquand Hartigan
I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside (1984)
In this tragi-comedy, friendship makes life bearable for two elderly people in a dreary old-folks’ home — until they’re threatened with separation.

Dolores Walshe
The Stranded Hours Between (1989)
Two women characters rise up in this play to reject the authority of a controlling husband and a patriarchal God.

Patricia Burke Brogan
Eclipsed (1992)
This play about a Magdalene laundry portrays four mothers who have lost their children to adoption, institutionalization or death.

Jennifer Johnston
Twinkletoes (1993)
In this monologue, a woman whose imprisoned IRA husband is never coming home careens between fanciful longings and a fettered life.

Nicola McCartney
Heritage (2001)
Set in Canada, this play portrays the conflicts that arise when a young Irish woman and her family start a new life in a new country.


Read more about Charlotte Headrick’s efforts to celebrate Irish women playwrights in Rewriting the Script.