1939- ; b. Sandycove, Co. Dublin, ed. Christian Brothers, Monkstown Park; son of theatre enthusiasts; clerk with Sealink shipping line; a first play, I Do Not Like Thee, Doctor Fell (Peacock, 15 March 1979), on encounter groups, a second play commissioned by Joe Dowling, led him to resign from Sealink; 22 productions incl. Canaries (Abbey 1980), on foreign holidays; winner of Rooney Prize, 1980; All in Favour Said No! (1981), on strike action; Petty Sessions (1983); m. Gloria, 1985; All the Way Back (1985), both on unemployment; Say Cheese (1987); Last Apache Reunion (1993); Lotty Coyle Loves Buddy Holly (RTÉ 1984) - plays generally reflecting on the values of a suburban society wary of idealism [OCIL];
also writes short fiction; I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Fell was successfully revived in Summer 1995; Stella By Starlight was premiered at the Dublin Th. Fest., Oct. 1996 (Gate Th.; dir. Ben Barnes); served on board of Abbey Th., 1996-2004 (“I got out just before Vesuvius went up”); The Spirit of Annie Ross (1999); Lovers at Versailles (Abbey 2002), play, dir. Mark Lambert; Many Happy Returns (Gate. Dec. 2004), a satire on the Celtic Tiger commissioned by Michael Colgan; revival of I Do Not Like Thee, Dr Fell, dir. Martin Drury (Abbey Dec. 2005);
his 19th play, Many Happy Returns, concerning a returning millionaire and family secrets, performed at the Gate, Christmas 2004; lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow. OCIL
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The Plays of Bernard Farrell (Dublin: Writers Co-Op. 1982); I Do Not Like Thee Doctor Fell (Dublin: Brophy 1988); The Last Apache Reunion and Forty-four Sycamore [2 plays] (Dublin: Mercier 1995), 192pp.; Happy Birthday, Dear Alice and Stella By Starlight [two plays] (Dublin: Mercier 1997); Many Happy Returns (Cork: Mercier Press 2006), 126pp.
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John Barnett, The Thoughtful Comedy of Bernard Farrell, Theatre Ireland, 3 (1983); Belinda McKeon, ‘Throwing the Tiger into the hot tub [interview-article], in The Irish Times (27 Nov. 2004), Weekend; Jim Nolan [interview], in Theatre Talk: Voices of Irish Theatre Practitioners, ed. Lilian Chambers, Ger Fitzgibbon, Eamonn Jordan, et al. (Blackrock: Carysfort Press 2001), pp.140-54.
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Pauline Ferrie, Irish Emigrant Book Review (July 1997) notices Happy Birthday Dear Alice and Stella By Starlight [two plays] (Dublin: Mercier 1997), with an introduction by the playwright giving account of their productions Gate Theatre and expressing the wish that future productions allow them (the two female characters) to go out in the world to relive their entrapment and devise their escape[...]
Dublin Theatre Festival (Oct. 1996), brochure lists I Do Not Like Thee, Dr Fell; The Last Apache; and Happy Birthday, Dear Alice; and the new production, Stella Starlight, in which comet crashes conspire to parallel the emotional turmoil of a family coming to terms with shattered dreams, the Internet and life in the Wicklow hills.
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