The Fays of the Abbey Theatre: An Autobiographical Record

By W. G. Fay; Catherine Carswell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II

THE school had a little theatre attached to it, and one of the great events of the year was the production of a play. It was an exciting time for everybody, but only those boys who held a prominent place in their forms -- or, I might add, in Dublin society -- had a chance of being in it. If you were a barrister's son you were sure of a part.

As in Shakespeare's time, all the female parts had to be played by boys, and the sight of a useful halfback or a crack bowler from the first eleven strolling about the stage with a head of golden curls and a skirt gave an added hilarity to the occasion. I, of course, was never high enough in form or society to be invited to take a part, and I'm sure if I had been, I should have been much too frightened to accept it. Perhaps this is one reason why it seemed to me a waste of time, even if your relatives did turn up at the show -- as mine would not have done anyway -- to be told how marvellous you were as Juliet or Lady Macbeth.

My brother Frank had begun to take a serious interest in the theatre some time before I left school. He used an old wardrobe in our bedroom to store the second-hand copies of plays that he bought for a few coppers off the book barrows that lined one side of the quay near O'Connell Bridge. I have wondered many times since where these beautiful calf-bound volumes came from originally and who had sold them into the degradation in which Frank found them. They were nearly all printed and published in Dublin,

-10-

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The Fays of the Abbey Theatre: An Autobiographical Record
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Foreword *
  • Postscript *
  • Contents *
  • List of Illustrations *
  • Part I - Before 1
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter II 10
  • Chapter III 25
  • Chapter IV 38
  • Chapter V 60
  • Chapter VI 81
  • Part II - The Abbey 103
  • Chapter I 105
  • Chapter II 122
  • Chapter III 136
  • Chapter IV 151
  • Chapter V 164
  • Chapter VI 173
  • Chapter VII 185
  • Chapter VIII 200
  • Chapter IX 211
  • Part III - After 233
  • Chapter I 235
  • Chapter II 248
  • Chapter III 270
  • Chapter IV 286
  • List of First Productions, with Casts 298
  • Index 311
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