Gary Hynes

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1954- ; dg. schoolteachers; ed. Galway NUI, grad. (History); participated in student drama society; replaced one-act which she had been asked to direct with Friel’s Loves of Cass McGuire, with Marie Mullen in the lead as freshman; took Paul Foster’s Elizabeth I to the all-Ireland Drama Festival finals; enrolled for HDipEd., quitting before exams in 1975 to fnd. the Druid Theatre Company with Mullen, the first independent theatre company in Ireland outside the capital, the name Druid being triggered by the Asterix cartoon currently running in the Irish Times; produced Synge’s Playboy of the Western World, 1975, transfering to the Covent Garden playhouse (Donmar), managed by Nica Burns; artistic director of the Abbey, 1991-94; heavily criticsed revival of O’Casey’s Plough and the Stars, with shaved-head in the male roles; sellout production of O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh with Brian Dennehy as Hickey, considered heavy and long; produced eleven new plays in 1994; returned to Druid artistic directorship, newly vacated by Maeliosa Stafford; found A Skull in Connemara among current scripts submitted to Druid, before which The Beauty Queen of Leenane had been submitted by the same author; premiered Beauty Queen at Galway Municipal Theatre, 1996 (‘a gamble and a bit scary’), and transferred successfully to Royal Court Theatre with Anna Manahan in the lead and Mullen as the angry spinster of the title; The Cripple of Inishmaan, premiered at National Theatre, London, transfering to Joseph Papp Public Theater, New York (7 April 1998); dir. Mr. Peter’s Connections, with Peter Falk in a new play by Arthur Miller at the Signature Theatre (April 1998).

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Commentary
Benedict Nightingale, ‘The Sort of Renown That Would Make Any Troupe Green’, in The NY Times (22 Feb., 1998) - Leisure: ‘Hynes returned [After her term as Artistic Director at the Abbey] to Druid, where the post of artistic director happened to be vacant, since Maeliosa Stafford, the actor who had taken over from her, had just moved to Australia. Right away, she asked to see the scripts that had recently arrived in the mail and was struck by a quirky tragicomedy called A Skull in Connemara. Who had written it? An unperformed writer called McDonagh. She asked if he had submitted anything else, and the answer was, yes, The Beauty Queen of Leenane. / She was convinced she had found a genuine writer, but, given the plays’ assured portrait of the Irish outback, assumed he was 40 or 50. The man she met was 24, a Londoner who had spent much of his childhood in his family’s place of origin, the west of Ireland. / ‘Suddenly it made sense,’ she said. ‘Martin is perched on the cusp of two cultures, and that’s what makes him extraordinarily interesting. He’s brought his social and cultural inheritance to his work, and he’s looked at it from the outside and spun it round his contemporary experience. He’s Irish, but he’s also a South London lad, tough and impatient with the past. He feels no need to kneel at his heritage’s shrine.’ (See full text in Ricorso Library, “Reviews”, infra.)

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