Anew McMaster: Life

Life
1891-1962 [bapt. Andrew after his father]; b. Birkenhead, England, 25 Dec.; moved to Ireland in 1914 to elude conscription; worked with Hilton Edwards, Micheál MacLiammóir and Harold Pinter; famed for the excellence of his voice and his Shakespearian roles; often gave Monaghan, 1895, as his place and date of birth; his “fit-up” theatre was the training-ground for Pauline Flanagan and others and is broadly characterised in Shane Connaughton’s film-script The Playboys [1990].

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Criticism
See Christopher Fitz-Simon, The Boys (London: Nick Hern Books 1994).

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Commentary
Desmond Rushe, ‘Sound Idiocy’, Éire-Ireland, 6, 1 (Spring 1971), pp.97-99, writes that ‘when McMaster came to our village farmers would quit their reaping or turf- (p.97)/ cutting a couple of hours early, so that they could dress in their Sunday best and sit at his feet.’ Rushe adds that after McMaster's death, Harold Pinter brought out a pamphlet entitled Mac in which he recalled his memories of two years spent touring with McMaster. Pinter wrote “Mac gave about a half dozen magnificent performances of Othello while I was with him... At his best he was the finest Othello I have see. [He} stood dead in the centre of the role, and the great sweeping symphonic playing would begin, the rare tension and release within him, the arrest, the swoop, the savagery, the majesty and repose.”’ (pp.97-98). [Rushe states that articles on McMaster were also written by Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir.

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Notes
Alan Wood (Inverbrinny, Downdaniel, Innishannon, Co.Cork) is involved in research involving visiting places where McMaster performed with a view to collecting anecdotal and other material as well as research written records on McMaster’s work in Ireland. Email [link].

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