The Fays of the Abbey Theatre: An Autobiographical Record

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

CHAPTER VII

THANKS to our English tour we reopened our Christmas season at the Abbey with a nice little balance in hand. The new play chosen for production was The White Cockade, a romantic comedy by Lady Gregory about King James II and the Battle of the Boyne. It was not intended to be historically accurate, but was made from material collected from popular songs and ballads composed after the battle. It is not as good a play as Kincora, for it lacks dramatic movement and the character of James is not well conceived, being neither fish, fowl nor good red herring. Moreover, when a play is a mixture of fact and fiction the actors are likely to suffer from having to play a series of short scenes none of which has enough emotional scope for anyone to show his quality. In spite of his poor part, the success of the evening was Arthur Sinclair, who played King James in a make-up that was a triumph in its resemblance to the original, if we may judge by the portraits.

After The White Cockade we lost some more of our players, the dissidents referred to before, who had only stayed to see this play through. Our greatest loss was our leading lady, Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh. With her went Miss Lavelle, Miss Vernon, Miss Garvey, Frank Walker, Seumas O'Sullivan and George Roberts. This deprived every play in the repertoire of some of its cast, and in many cases it is doubtful if we ever had the parts so well played afterwards. It meant months of work for Frank and me, but in the circumstances

-185-

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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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