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Juno and the Paycock

Juno and the Paycock
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Sean O'Casey
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 63
Pub. Date: 1971
ISBN-10: 0573012148
ISBN-13: 9780573012143
Cast Size: 5 women, 14 men

About the Play:

Juno and the Paycock was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Juno and the Paycock is a full-length comedic drama by Sean O'Casey. A powerful and moving story about a mother's dream of a better life for her children during the tragedy of the Irish civil war. Set in a Dublin tenement house full of captivating characters always ready with a song, a story, or an opinion, Sean O'Casey's tale traces the effects of the war on its working-class people. What begins as a light comedy spirals downhill into a tragedy nearly universally shared in that beleaguered country. The most famous play by this remarkable Irish dramatist.

Juno and the Paycock is one of the great plays of the twentieth century. A compelling look at the family conflicts of a struggling Irish matriarch's herculean attempts to keep her children safe and her husband sober despite his foolish schemes and the ongoing "troubles" in early 20th century Dublin. "Captain" Jack Boyle – known to his neighbours as the "paycock" – is out of work and determined to stay that way. He and his crony Joxer spend most of their time drinking and playing cards. The long-suffering Juno Boyle, the spirited matriarch of the Boyle household, tries to keep her family together in their tenement flat while it is being pulled apart by growing political unrest. Their son Johnny, crippled fighting for the IRA, cowers indoors, terrified of reprisal; his sister Mary has joined the labour movement and is on strike. Sudden news of an inheritance provokes dreams of escape but, even before their rowdy celebrations are done, reality asserts itself as a neighbour's corpse is carried down the stairs – another victim of the bitter civil war. Mary falls for an educated man as the loans stack up. Tragedy ensues.

One of Sean O'Casey's biggest fans was Arthur Miller, in part because he too saw that great drama can be made out of very ordinary people's lives and their quiet heroism in the face of overwhelming challenge. Miller once said, "That was the thing about O'Casey his gift of laughter that left you in tears for the human race."

Juno and the Paycock was first staged in 1924 at the Abbey Theatre in the writer's native Dublin. The play's mix of humour, drama and politics has made it a contemporary classic that has been produced throughout the world in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 5 women, 14 men

What people say:

"One of the great plays of the twentieth century, Juno and the Paycock offers a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish Civil War, 1922." — Daily Mail

"...a big heart and black comedy." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Sean O'Casey (1880-1964) became in turn newspaper-seller, docker, stonebreaker, railway worker, builder's labourer, dramatist and, ultimately, a giant of modern Irish literature. The internationally acclaimed productions of his plays, including Juno and the Peacock and The Plough and the Stars, helped launch the Abbey Theatre as a preeminent stage for world drama, and his realistic depiction of the Dublin working classes and the struggles of Ireland for independence were a defining characteristic of the Irish Literary Revival.