Joseph Holloway's Abbey Theatre: A Selection from His Unpublished Journal, Impressions of a Dublin Playgoer

Joseph Holloway's Abbey Theatre: A Selection from His Unpublished Journal, Impressions of a Dublin Playgoer

Joseph Holloway's Abbey Theatre: A Selection from His Unpublished Journal, Impressions of a Dublin Playgoer

Joseph Holloway's Abbey Theatre: A Selection from His Unpublished Journal, Impressions of a Dublin Playgoer

Excerpt

In every way but one, Joseph Holloway of Dublin was a thoroughly unremarkable man, but in that one way he was, without exaggeration, astounding. For most of his almost eighty-four years, he was a man as completely dedicated to art as his country had ever seen. His interest embraced music, painting, and, above all, the theatre. People who knew him toward the end of his life, in the 1930's and early 1940's when he had achieved a mild local notoriety as a Dublin character, would have seen him at every art exhibition, every concert, every lecture, and every theatrical first night. In appearance he was then a short, slightly portly old gentleman with a bowler hat set squarely upon his head, with a mane of thick gray hair, a straggling moustache, drooping jowls, bright and inquisitive blue eyes, and a kindly and benevolent manner.

If one knew him slightly better, one might have thought him a trifle eccentric. The basis for this unjust judgment was that he was known to be an indefatigable collector who for over fifty years had filled his house to bursting with everything even remotely connected with the theatre: books, playscripts, prompt copies, playbills, scrapbooks filled with clippings, letters from actors and playwrights--a vast pile of theatrical refuse garnered from a half-century of devoted playgoing. He covered the walls of his house from floor to ceiling with paintings, sketches, and drawings that he had commissioned young artists to make of Irish theatrical and literary figures. Ultimately . . .

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