By Adrian Frazier
Backstage offers the tale of Dublin's recognized Abbey Theatre and its significant inventive personalities: W. B. Yeats, Annie Horniman, J. M. Synge, and woman Gregory. half background, half sociology, half biography, Frazier's paintings recreates the forces that formed the Abbey level, forces that concerned the lively participation of actors, audiences, press, and financiers in addition to of the well-known poet-playwright who used to be its co-director. His booklet unfolds an exciting and suspenseful story, based at the undeniably autocratic character of W.B. Yeats and with the political struggles of eire as a backdrop.
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Additional resources for Behind the Scenes: Yeats, Horniman, and the Struggle for the Abbey Theatre (New Historicism)
Although the same arrangement on stage could serve as a play, there would, in short, have had to be a symbolic substitution for reality, and some rearrangement of intentions and expectations, for the 9 November 1861 spectacle at the Mechanic's Institute to be counted as the first and greatest moment in Irish National Theatre. The point of this illustration is that while the existence of author and text are by definition essential to dramatic literature, the other factors that figure in making a publicly staged event significantthe promotion, the nature of the fund-raising, the political context, the predisposition of the audience, the character of the actor, the meaning of the scene, the commentary upon the eventare so important that one may discover something very much like an authorless, textless play.
19 Their performance was a complete success: it was such fun for the gentry to act the peasants, who must have seemed like fabulous talking beasts out of Grimm. 22 These differences between the "quality" (Anglo-Irish word for the upper classes) and the peasants did, however, attract the attention of theological critics. A rather sensible Catholic reviewer for the Daily Express concluded that Yeats, though "a king in Fairyland," was completely ignorant of the way an Irishman thought: "the central conception of the excessive value of the beautiful Countess's soul" was ''foreign to any- 19.
W. J. T. Mitchell [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982], 55). Booth is concerned with the politics of those who write, those who first received, and those who now interpret texts. My own interests, while including these concerns, extend as well to the political forces that are actually constitutive of the works themselves. Page xvi the most popular and politically effective matinee and evening show ever put on that stage. 6 After a brief part in a minor uprising, "The Rebellion of 1848," MacManus was tried, convicted, and sentenced to be transported to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania).