M Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Rising of the Moon by Lady Augusta Gergory

The Rise of the Moon by Lady Augusta Gregory (1907, a play in one act)

What school in the Philippines is teaching this story?  Please leave a comment.  I live in The Capital Region


I think most people's image of Lady Augusta Gregory (1852 to 1932-County Galway, Ireland) is that of a very rich lady who used her money to buy her way into the inner circles of the Irish Theater and of William Butler Yeats.   This is not entirely fair but it is not real far from the mark.

I have for sometime wanted to read one of her plays and I was very glad to find a rather short one (under twenty pages) in For the Love of Ireland:  A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers by Susan Cahill.  Gregory wrote a lot of plays, all of which were preformed at the Abbey Theater in Dublin (which was largely run on donations from Gregory).    I am glad I read this play and would like to read some of her short stories based on her research into Irish folktales.

"The Rising of the Moon", first preformed in 1907 at the Abbey Theater, is a very simple work with only two real important characters.  One is a police sergeant, with some of his men, who are on the look out for a leading member of an organization seeking Ireland's freedom from English rule.  The other is the man they are seeking.   As the play opens the sergeant and his men are looking for good places to put up wanted posters.  There is a hundred pound reward for the capture of the man, a lot of money to most people then.   One of the policemen says that anybody on the force who captures him is sure to get promoted.   The sergeant explains to his men that they are doing very important work in keeping the public order.

The sergeant sends his men on their way to put up wanted posters all over town.  A man dressed in old clothes comes along and the sergeant demands to know who he is and what he is doing walking about.  The man explains that he is Jimmy Walsh, a ballad singer.  It is interesting that the sergeant speaks the king's English but the ballad singer speaks in  Irish dialogue, or at least Irish dialect as Lady Gregory from a very Anglo/Irish patrician background, saw it.   It comes across now as a little patronizing.  The man begins to sing a ballad and the sergeant says "stop that noise".   As I know not to many people are ever going to read this play (and even less this post!) I will tell the ending.  The sergeant figures out that the man is the wanted  person and he lets him go.

I am glad I read this play and will in time read more of her work and perhaps I will read Colm Toibin's book on her.  I have read his short story based on her, "Silence" and will post on it soon.

You can download a lot of her work, including her dramas, from Manybooks.

Mel u


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