John McArdle

Life
1938- ; b. 20 April; fiction writer and playwright; b. Cabra, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, ed. St Macartan's College, Monaghan and TTC; teacher from 1958; also actor; filmscript, The Kinkisha (1978), for Kinship films, 1976; Jacko, 1979, published in Martin Drury, ed., Three Team Plays (Dublin: Wolfhound 1988); Its Handy When People Don't Die (Poolbeg 1981) [stories], title story filmed 1982; Two Houses; play for theatre in Education, produced by Team Theatre 1984, 1987, 1990; Pláigh [in Irish](Reilt Theatre 1988); Celebration (National Youth Th. 1989); Out of that Childhood Country (1992), play about Patrick Kavanagh, with Tommy McArdle and Eugene MacCabe; also unpub. playscript, Duff’s Disciples (1973) and Storyline Ireland [one of four books for children by four authors] (Oliver Boyd 1988). OCIL

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Commentary
Maurice Harmon, ‘First Impressions: 1968-78’, in Terence Brown & Patrick Rafroidi, eds., The Irish Short Story (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1979): ‘Another point of view is found in John McArdle’s “The Warmth and the Wine”. Here the Irishman abroad is faced with what Austin Clarke used to call “the bright temptation”, in the figure of a beautiful, sensual, liberated girl, with whom he spends a delightful evening in a restaurant and who expects that their rapport will lead to lovemaking. But even when she does manage to share his bed, he remains faithful to his wife. Is he to be admired for such loyalty? Is he to be condemned for being so hard on the Dutch girl?’ (p.72.)

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References
Walter Reade Theatre (Cat. 1994), gives account of The Kinkiska (1977), dir. McArdle, 65 mins; a young woodsprite of a girl (Barbara McNamara) sets an elaborate streamside trap for a little bird, whose blood and body she needs to cure the curse of her kinkisha - a child born on Pentecost that’s fated to kill or be killed; pregnancy has trapped the girl into a loveless marriage, and help is not forthcoming from a priest flustered by femaleness; an atmospheric and provocative mixture of old magic and modern marital alienation. ALSO, It’s Handy When People Don’t Die, McArdle (1980), 1000 mins, all the men of Wexford set out to join 1798 Rebellion, blessed by wiseman and priest; Art, a kind of fool of nature, remains to witness and wonder at the way communities turn to bloodshed at the heady wine of legend; McArdle’s provocative, moody film means to pin down the moment when ugly reality becomes brave fiction; screened on archival print from Film Inst. of Ireland.

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