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Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue
Your Price: $29.95 CDN
Author: Emma Donoghue
Introduction by: Cathy Leeney
Publisher: Oberon Books
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 224
Pub. Date: 2015
ISBN-10: 1783192127
ISBN-13: 9781783192120

About the Play:

The first collection of plays from acclaimed Irish novelist Emma Donoghue, author of the best-selling novels Room (finalist for the Man Booker Prize) and Frog Music. Emma Donoghue: Selected Plays collects her first five works for theatre: Kissing the Witch, Don't Die Wondering, Trespasses, Ladies and Gentlemen, and I Know My Own Heart.

Her first play, I Know My Own Heart, is inspired by the secret coded diaries of Regency lesbian eccentric Anne Lister (1817-24). Teasing out the entangled lives of mannish, arrogant Lister (nicknamed "Gentleman Jack") and three of her many lovers, I Know My Own Heart explores the different choices women made in a time of limits and prohibitions. It premiered in 1993 at Dublin's Andrew's Lane Theatre and was nominated for the Stewart Parker Award for Best Irish Debut Play. (Cast: 4 women)

Ladies and Gentlemen is a memory play with songs, set mostly in the dressing rooms of busy vaudeville theatres all over North America, was inspired by a real same-sex wedding that took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1886. It resurrects a ragtag troupe of emigrantsmost notably, the late nineteenth-century male impersonator Annie Hindle, as she relives her two marriages (one to a man, one to a woman), "a man's widow and a woman's widower", as the tabloids called her. With a light touch, Ladies and Gentleman explores the ways we perform our roles, both on and off stage. It premiered in 1996 at Dublin's Project Arts Centre. (Cast: 3 women, 2 men)

Kissing the Witch is an adaptation of five of the revisionist fairy tales from her book of the same name. This play interweaves four classic plots – Beauty and the Beast, Donkeyskin, the Goose Girl, the Little Mermaid – with an invented one about a desperate girl going to a witch for help. Kissing the Witch finds the gritty in the fantastical, and excavates magic to find what's really going on. It premiered in 2000 at San Francisco's Magic Theatre. (Cast: 3 women, 1 man)

Adapted from her book of thirteen revisionist fairy tales of the same name, this play interweaves four classic plots – Beauty and the Beast, Donkeyskin, the Goose Girl, the Little Mermaid – with an invented one about a desperate girl going to a witch for help. Kissing the Witch finds the gritty in the fantastical, and excavates magic to find what's really going on.

Don't Die Wondering: When a restaurant cook loses her job because of a homophobic customer, she mounts a one-woman picket in protest. The police officer assigned to protect her is her nemesis from schooldays. This one-act comedy (based on her BBC radio play of the same name), set in a fictional small town, stages a battle between old and new elements of Irish culture. It premiered in 2005 at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. (Cast: 3 women, 3 men)

Trespasses is inspired by the judge's own account of one of the rare witch trials that took place in Ireland: the case of Florence Newton in Youghal. Set over three days in 1661, it asks why a servant girl who fell into fits would have put the blame on an old beggarwoman – but also, more timeless questions about the clashing cultures that have to share a small island country. A two-act play, based on her RTE radio play of the same name, Trespasses is about faith and superstition, politics and class, sadism and love. (Cast: 11 roles, which can be played by 2 women and 4 men)

About the Playwright:

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-born playwright, literary historian, and novelist. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario. Her 2010 novel Room was an international bestseller. It won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor Generals Awards in Canada. The novel was also the winner of the Irish Book Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Room was adapted into a film of the same name, for which she wrote the screenplay which was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.