Act I: Theatre Says Its Been Gazumped over Classic Plays; Drama: Dispute Involves Plays by Sean OCasey, Here with Wife Eileen Actor Bryan Murray at the Launch of the Deep Blue Sea at the Gate Theatre
Byline: Andrea McCullagh
IN the theatrical world the wars are usually acted out on stage, but twoof Irelands major players have locked horns over the legendary playwright SeanOCasey.
Druid Theatre company director Garry Hynes believes that the company wasgazumped by the Abbey Theatre in its bid to stage the OCasey plays.
The plan was to take on OCaseys four Dublin plays in light of the approach ofthe centenary of the 1916 rising. Because it seemed like such a hugeundertaking, Miss Hynes decided to approach the Abbey and suggested that theplays would make an ideal co-production project, a plan that the Abbeyrejected.
Nevertheless Druid started negotiations with the OCasey estate on the rights tothe plays but, just before the end of last year, Miss Hynes says that she heardthat the Abbey snapped up the rights to both The Plough and the Stars, and Junoand the Paycock.
She said: We were gazumped by the Abbey. It was pretty disturbing. We were inthe middle of negotiation.
We were very much taken by surprise to find that the Abbey had purchased therights to two of the plays, therefore making our plans untenable.
And they had done that in the full knowledge of our plans.
I approached the Abbey and suggested that this would make an idealco-production project. The Abbey has resources beyond what we had, and arelationship with the writer.
Druid had the expertise and the proven ability to deliver on major projects ofthis kind and it seemed to me that that was an ideal and potentially veryexciting co-production for the two organisations.
It seemed to make complete sense to me, but the Abbey rejected the proposal.
Miss Hynes said the situation is difficult for her. Theres huge disappointmentfor me, but thats what I have to get on with. I started directing there in 1984and Ive always been extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed mywork there, she said, referring to the Abbey.
But right at the moment, Id find it very difficult to work in an organ-isationthat behaves in this way.
However, Abbey director Fiach MacCongail strongly rejects any notion that DruidTheatre was gazumped by the Abbeys actions and he has a very different view onwhat happened in relation to the OCasey plays. …