Gabriel Fallon

Life
1898-1980; [‘Gaby’]; London civil service, joined Abbey, 1920; played Capt. Brennan The Plough and the Stars and appeared in the first productions of others of O’Casey plays; objected on moral grounds to Denis Johnston’s planned production of Toller’s Hoppla with Drama League, 1928; became director; wrote on O’Casey; reviewing for The Evening Press (14 May 1955), he advised Graham Greene to ‘take with him, and read with more humility, a copy of the Catechism’; Abbey Director at time of Shaughraun revival (1967); Sean O’Casey, the Man I Knew (London: Routledge & KP 1965); The Abbey and the Actor [autobiog.] (Dublin 1969); Irish Times theatre critic; hailed as ‘oul buttie’; in Sean O’Casey’s letters. DIW

 

Works
‘The Ageing Abbey [Part II], in The Irish Monthly, LXVI (May 1938), pp.339-344; ‘The Future of Irish Theatre’, in 44, 173 (Spring 1955), cpp.93-100 [‘deeply sunk in the pit of naturalism’]; ‘The Man in the Plays’, in Sean McCann, ed., The World of Sean O’Casey [New English Library] (London: Dent 1966), pp.196-210; ‘Fragments of Memory’, in Ann Saddlemyer and Colin Smythe, eds., Lady Gregory, Fifty Years After (Gerrards Cross 1987), pp.30-34.

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Commentary
Ronald Ayling, [ed.,] Sean O’Casey: Modern Judgements (London: Macmillan 1969), Introduction, cites Gabriel Fallon: ‘My basic dislike of the autobiographies was to be found mainly in three directions; first of all, the narcissism of the style which the use of the third person gave the writing as well as the attempts to out-sing Synge or to out-jump Joyce in the manufacture of “portmanteau” words - “playing Jeff to Joyce’s Mutt” was how Padraic Colum put it. Then the unreliability of the content, the total absence of dates; indeed, the absence of what even the common reader would describe as material evidence. Finally, his unaccountable bitterness.’ Fallon went on to document what he regarded as the artistic decline of the playwright in terms of his response to international acclaim, such that he ‘lost the run of himself as a result of fortune, fame, and friendship of the great’. Ayling strenously contests the view that O’Casey, author of the Autobiographies is a different person from the ‘man I knew’ of Fallon’s title, adding ‘what on earth does that mean?’; he also cites articles in Dublin Magazine (Autumn/Winter 1965) and Massachussetts Review (Summer 1966) in which Fallon’s interpretation of the career is hotly contested. (See Sean O’Casey: The Man I Knew, p.160; Ayling p.35ff.).

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Notes
Programme notes to The Two Shadows: Florence Festival Productions (Monday 13 May 1968), productions of In the Shadow of the Glen (Synge; dir. Frank Dermody; with Kathleen Barrington, Michael Ó Briain, John Kavanagh, Eamon Kelly), and The Shadow of a Gunman (O’Casey; dir. Vincent Dowling, with Patrick Laffan, Philip O’Flynn, and Bernadetta McKenna);, et al. NOTE also essay, ‘The Man and the Plays’ by Gabriel Fallon in Sean McCann, intro. and ed., The World of Sean O’Casey (New English Library 1966), pp.196-210. See also Fallon, quoted under RX Seamus Byrne, ‘... The following May Grahame [sic] Greene came under fire both from Mr Fallon and Seamus Byrne, neither of whom thought much of The Living Room. ... On 14 May Gabriel Fallon, writing in the Evening Press, advised Grahame Greene that when next embarking ‘on the hazardous voyage between God and evil’ he should ‘take with him and read with more humility, a copy of the Cathecism.’ His article was headed “Read your Cathecism Mr Greene.” [...] A few years later Mr Fallon resigned from the Amateur Drama Movement of Ireland in protest at the number of priests who were holding positions of influence with the movement. As the clergy have always regarded Mr Fallon as the one pillar of respectability within the puzzling and disturbing world of the theatre, his resignation fell on many of them with the force almost of the announcement of a papal elopement. That year, at the annual diocesan examination which young priests are required to undergo for the first five years after ordination, the young clerics of Dublin were asked to give their opinions to what the resignation signified. / It signified nothing except that Mr Fallon was acting according to his conscience ... .’

Fallon reviewed The Quare Fellow for Irish Times (9.11.1954), ‘whne Mr Behan find himself technically the Irish theatre will ahve found another and, I think, a greater O’Casey’ (cited in Ulick O’Connor, Brendan, p.169).

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