By Robert Hogan
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Extra resources for After the Irish Renaissance: A Critical History of the Irish Drama since The Plough and The Stars
A middle-class comedy set in an Ulster village, this play's realism is quite authentic. It has no theatrical exaggerations, no Ulster versions of Joxer, and no big moments like the wooing scene in The Whiteheaded Boy. It has, however, an honest effectiveness: the chorus of middle-aged gossips is delightful, and Boyd, the grocer, is a solid portrait of an upright man. His next Abbey play was William John Maivhinney, an unpublished comedy produced on March 23, 1940. His last Abbey play, Friends and Relations, was first performed on June 30, 1941.
When Lovely Woman took a more urbane view of sex than the Abbey could approve, and The Demon Lover was a Strindbergian study in infidelity. Both appeared at the Gate, as did the modernization of Maupassant's "Boule de Suif" which Robinson retitled Roly Poly. The play, performed during the war, so irritated the French and German legations that it was forced to close and Robinson was challenged to a duel. Besides the beautifully drawn character of the prostitute, the whole play is a streamlined, wry, fierce job.
McCormick and later by Harry Brogan, this character is nearly as fine as O'Casey's Joxer Daly. The play has some needless overcomplexity of plotting toward the end, but still its point, humor, and honest observation must probably rank it with Robinson's The Whiteheaded Boy as one of the best conventional comedies the Abbey has produced. The Passing Day is notable for the mild experimentation of its flashback scenes and for almost the first indication of Shiels's growing wryness. The main character is an amazingly miserly shopkeeper, and there is hardly a character who is not thoroughly selfish and repellent.
After the Irish Renaissance: A Critical History of the Irish Drama since The Plough and The Stars by Robert Hogan