Heno Magee

Life
1939- ; playwright, b. Dublin; left school at 14 to work as messenger boy; served for five years in British Royal Air Force; returned to Dublin, working in tobacco factory; several years as drama critic for The Catholic Standard; I’m Getting Out of This Kip (1972); Hatchet (Abbey, 1972) - prev. read at Peacock, April 1970; and Red Biddy (Abbey, 1974); winner Rooney Prize in Irish Literature, 1976, also Abbey Theatre bursary; James Douglas writes, ‘Working class Dublin background ... characters articulate their condition through sex, booze, and violence, for no other antidotes are available for the sameness, sullenness, and lethargy of life and against poverty and its pains’. DIL

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Works
Hatchet ([Dublin]: Gallery; Newark: Proscenium 1978). [The play was produced by the Play Circle in 1970.]

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Commentary
Ferdia Mac Anna, ‘The Dublin Renaissance: An Essay on Modern Dublin and Dublin Writers’ (Irish Review, 10, Spring 1991, pp.14-30): on Hatchet: ‘It brought us face-to-face with a world that was never seen on Irish television, nor reflected in th cinema or other arts and only rarely mentioned in newspapers - an inner city where the characters were trapped in a never-ending spiral of poverty, drink and despair [...] in Heno Magee’s stark vision, lyrical Dublin was dead and gone.’ (Quoted in Conor McCarthy, Modernisation: Crisis and Culture in Ireland 1969-1992, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2000, p,136.)

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References
Helena Sheehan, Irish Television Drama (1987), lists RTÉ film, Hatchet, written by Magee and directed by Tony Barry (1973); also I’m Getting Out of This Kip, Magee/Barry (1973).

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Notes
Hatchet was read by the Play Circles / Playwrights Workshop at the Peacock Theatre, on Sun. 12 April 1970. (See correspondence of Sybil Le Brocquy - infra.)

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