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Sean O’Casey – Under a Coloured Cap

Director: Shivaun O'Casey

2004| Colour/B&W| 81 mins| Ireland


Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars stand with the greatest plays written in the twentieth century, all written by the Irish playwright Sean O’Casey after he was forty years old.
Sean O’Casey was born on the north side of Dublin in 1880 and lived through troubled and turbulent times: the 1913 Lock-out and Strike, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Anglo-Irish War and the Civil War. O’Casey was involved directly with the Lock-out and Strike, starving with his fellow workers and like many other Dubliners, he saw and was affected by the horrors of the Rising and the wars that followed.
The most remarkable thing he had ever done, O’Casey later said, was to escape from the slums of Dublin. He managed to do this after his second play, Juno, was performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1924. Only then was he able to give up his job as labourer working on the roads. These three plays within three years had made his name and he became known all over the world. He soon moved to London, later moving to Devon on England’s South-coast, where he died in 1964 at the age of eighty-four.
With privileged personal insight from interviews with himself, his wife, Eileen, his son Breon and a narration by Shivaun O’Casey, his personality comes to life. The well-known actor, John Kavanagh, is the voice of O’Casey reading from the autobiography and letters. Scenes from the plays reveal a diverse and innovative artist, ahead of his time in his vision of what drama should be.

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