Sep 09

“Take away our hearts o’ stone…” – Powerful Sean O’Casey monologues performed in New York

“It’ll have what’s far better- it’ll have two mothers”

Juno and Mary Boyle , two of the O'Caseys long suffering , but determined women.

Juno and Mary Boyle , two of the O’Caseys long suffering , but determined women.

Sean O’Casey is one of Ireland’s most famous playwrights , with his major works being as compelling today as when they were first performed almost a century ago. His most memorable characters are based on real life Dubliner’s he knew and observed , including many from  the Docklands community. They are iconic figures , with Fluther Good and Joxer Daly being part of our cities culture . Another vital aspect of his plays is the role of women , not only central to the world portrayed but also providing a sensible and balanced attitude in the face of the often lazy, misguided and insensitive males. And none of his women characters are as powerful than Juno Boyle in “Juno and the Paycock”.

Abbey actress Sara Allgood , the original Juno .

Abbey actress Sara Allgood , the original Juno .

In July the Irish American Writers & Artist (IAW&A) event at the Cell Theatre in New York invited participants to perform a short Sean O’Casey piece for screening in Dublin . With no other guidance , three of the actors involved chose the same scene to perform , Juno’s heart wrenching and powerful monologue when she finds out her son has been shot dead . Earlier in the play she had callously disregarded her neighbours suffering when her son had died in similar circumstances (because he was on the ‘other side’). Originally played by Abbey star Sara Allgood in 1924 (who reprised the role in the 1930 movie version) , one fellow performer praised her skill : “her appearance literally compelled the audience to a frozen silence”. Here are all three IAW&A performances, demonstrating how the scene can be delivered in different manners but each reflecting the heartbreak and anger of a mother .


The Sean O’Casey Festival 2018 is the the first of what is planned to be an annual event and it is hoped that we can continue to work with the IAW&A and we’d love to see performers visiting our community next year.

Join us for the opening event which will be a celebration of “The women of O’Casey” , with an absolutely incredible line up of talent. All welcome .

SOC FLYER Side 1Thanks to John Kearns , the IAW&A and all the performers for this contribution to the Sean O’Casey Festival .


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