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Tom Murphy

TOM MURPHY

  (1935 - )

Nationality:    Irish
email:    n/a     Website:    n/a

Literary Agent:    Alexandra Cann Representation  

Tom Murphy is considered by many to be Ireland's greatest playwright. He has written twenty-five plays and has received numerous awards and nominations. Throughout his career, he has worked closely with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and with Druid Theatre in Galway. His first successful play, A Whistle in the Dark, was performed at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1961 where it caused great controversy. A major restrospective of his work was presented at the Abbey Theatre in 2001. He has published six play collections with Methuen Drama in the Contemporary Dramatists series.

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below is a list of Tom Murphy's plays - click on a Play Title for more information

        Alice Trilogy         Bailegangaire         Blue Macushia, The         Brigit         Cherry Orchard, The         Conversations On A Homecoming         Crucial Week In the Life Of A Grocer's Assistant, A         Drunkard, The         Epitaph Under Ether         Famine         Fooleen, The         Gigli Concert, The         House, The         Informer, The         J Arthur Maginnis Story, The         Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant, The         Little Love, A Little Kiss, The         Morning After Optimism, The         On the Inside         On the Outside         Orphans, The         Patriot Game, The         Sanctuary Lamp, The         She Stoops To Conquer         She Stoops To Folly         Thief Of A Christmas, A         Too Late For Logic         Vicar Of Wakefield, The         Wake, The         Whistle In the Dark, A         White House, The



Alice Trilogy

Synopsis:
Three ages of Alice. 1980, in the afternoon murk of her attic, is Alice losing her grip on reality? 1995, she has summoned a lost love to meet her by the gasworks wall. 2005, at the airport: if the worst has happened, why is it bearable?

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  2            Other:  -

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Bailegangaire

Bailegangaire
Bailegangaire is as complex and haunting as one of Yeats' later poems - A senile bedridden old woman rehearses over and over again an epic tale of a village laughing match - Meanwhile her two granddaughters struggle to release themselves from the prison of remembered unhappiness. Here is a potent allegory - of the need to exorcise the past and its myths if one is to be happy in the future.
Sunday Telegraph

Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1986

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Genre:
Play/Drama

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Male:  -            Female:  3            Other:  -

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Blue Macushia, The

Synopsis:
a live gangster movie on stage set in the Republic of the 1970s with the politics of the Troubles emerging in Northern Ireland spilling over into the South.

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  13            Female:  4            Other:  doubling possible

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Brigit

Brigit
Set in the 1950s, Brigit, a prequel to Murphy's critically-acclaimed Bailegangaire (1985), tells the story of Mommo and Seamus, grandparents living on the breadline, who are raising three grandchildren: Mary, Dolly and Tom, when Seamus is offered a job to carve a statue of St Brigit.

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  5            Other:  -

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Cherry Orchard, The

Synopsis:
In Chekhov's tragi-comedy - perhaps his most popular play - the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces, forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them. their estate is hopelessly in debt: urged to cut down their beautiful cherry orchard and sell the land for holiday cottages, they struggle to act decisively. Tom Murphy's fine vernacular version allows us to re-imagine the events of the play in the last days of Anglo-Irish colonialism. It gives this great play vivid new life within our own history and social consciousness.

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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  12            Female:  6            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Conversations On A Homecoming

Conversations On A Homecoming
Conversations on a Homecoming: County Galway, 1970s. Even the humblest of small-town pubs can be a magnet for dreamers. Michael, after a ten-year absence, suddenly returns from New York and has a reunion with old friends, in that same pub 'the White House'.

Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1986

1st Produced:

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1st Published:
Methuen Drama, London   978-1408173190

Music:
-

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  3            Other:  -

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Crucial Week In the Life Of A Grocer's Assistant, A

Synopsis:
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Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1978

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Genre:
Comedy

Parts:
Male:  9            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Drunkard, The

Synopsis:
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Produced by B*spoke Theatre Company In association with Galway Arts Festival, Ireland >>>

1st Published:
Carysfort Press, Dublin, 2004   -

Music:
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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  13            Female:  9            Other:  doubling possible

Further Reference:
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Epitaph Under Ether

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Genre:
Adaptation One Act

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Famine

Famine
Famine portrays the Great Hunger of the Irish in 1840s, with fresh pathos and insight. "the macabre business of blight and death, of wakes and murder, of poisoned love and lost hope, and the scandal of an emigration policy that was in effect one of transportation. . .are some of the modern Irish theatre's most powerful and poetic scenes." (Observer)

Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1977

1st Produced:

Company:
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1st Published:
Methuen Drama, London   978-1408173190

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Genre:
Irish Drama Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  18            Female:  3            Other:  -

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Fooleen, The

Synopsis:
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1st Produced:
Dublin    1969

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1st Published:
Proscenium Press, Dixon, California, 1970   -

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Genre:
Play/Drama

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Gigli Concert, The

Synopsis:
the language of the play is on a sort of inspired Bender. It surfeits on its own potency. Tom Murphy's gift - here and in his other plays - is at once to stimulate and destabilise. It's a thrilling and intense experience to sit in a theatre and hardly to know where you are or that anything exists beyond the stage in front of you. . .This is a dark, funny, consuming evening of high points, breaking points, hangovers and hints - uncertain hints - of hope (Observer)

Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1984

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Genre:
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Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  1            Other:  -

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House, The

Synopsis:
Summertime, and the emigrant workers, dressed in new suits and dreams, are returning home for the annual sojourn. they are young, vigorous, they have money in their pockets. But they do not belong here any more - and they do not belong abroad. they are resentful and dangerous. None more so than the seemingly gregarious Christy Cavanagh. His childhood fixation with Mrs de Burca and her daughters becomes a frightening obsession when he finds that the date has been set for the auctioning of their house, and his bid to possess heaven has tragic consequences.

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  7            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Informer, The

Synopsis:
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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  37            Female:  23            Other:  doubling possible

Further Reference:
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J Arthur Maginnis Story, The

Synopsis:
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Notes:
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1st Produced:
Pavilion Theatre Dun Laoghaire    1976

Company:
Irish Theatre Company, Dublin

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  11            Female:  4            Other:  doubling possible

Further Reference:
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Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant, The

Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant, The
An epic family Drama, shot through with dark humour, the Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant tells the tragic story of a family disintegrating, having lost its moral values. .Arina is an ambitious woman. As a servant girl she marries into the degenerative family she works for, her peasant genes saving it from extinction. Her ruthless energy saves it from bankruptcy and she expands the family estate into an empire. As matriarch she rules with an iron hand, her avarice insatiable - until she begins to wonder what is it all for? She slackens her hold and loses her power to the hypocrisy and relentless grasping of her chosen son.

Notes:
Inspired by the Golovlyov Family by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin

1st Produced:

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1st Published:
Methuen Drama    978-1408199947

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  11            Female:  7            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Little Love, A Little Kiss, The

Synopsis:
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Genre:
Fantasy Drama Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

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Morning After Optimism, The

Synopsis:
the Morning After Optimism introduces fairytale characters with consciously artificial language and explores the relationship between illusion and freedom. "A play of a dream world. . .profoundly engaged with the archetypes of Western culture" (Fintan O'Toole)

Notes:
1st published Mercier Press, Cork, 1973

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Genre:
Fantasy Drama Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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On the Inside

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1976

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  7            Female:  5            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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On the Outside

Synopsis:
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Notes:
1st published Gallery Press, Dublin, 1976

1st Produced:

Company:
Project Arts Centre In association with Four-in-One Players

1st Published:

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play One Act

Parts:
Male:  7            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Orphans, The

Synopsis:
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1st Published:
Proscenium Press, Dixon, California, 1970   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Patriot Game, The

Synopsis:
a documentary Drama charting the 1916 Easter rising

Notes:
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Genre:
Documentary Drama Documentary

Parts:
Male:  6            Female:  7            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Sanctuary Lamp, The

Synopsis:
the Sanctuary Lamp is set in a church. "Murphy, in the best traditions of Bunuel, takes a hallowed institution and populates it with social misfits who desecrate every convention in both thought and action. . .Murphy's savage indignation is unbearably true. . ." (Irish Times)

Notes:
1st published Poolbeg Press, Dublin, 1976

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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She Stoops To Conquer

Synopsis:
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Notes:
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1st Produced:

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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  13            Female:  6            Other:  doubling possible

Further Reference:
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She Stoops To Folly

Synopsis:
Modelled on Oliver Goldsmith's classic novel the Vicar of Wakefield, Murphy builds a comedy peopled with thieves, pimps, bawds, lechers and imposters who will prey on innocence unless God - or the ruling class - takes a hand. It centres around the downfall of Dr Primrose, who relates the misadventures that have caused his downfall and brought disintegration and ruin on his loved ones.

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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  14            Female:  8            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Thief Of A Christmas, A

Thief Of A Christmas, A
'Grand opera. . .both timeless and contemporary' - Fintan O'Toole

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  10            Female:  4            Other:  extras, 4c, musicians

Further Reference:
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Too Late For Logic

Synopsis:
Too Late for Logic is a cunning mix of fact and fiction. Christopher has sacrificed much to haul himself up the academic ladder. As the play opens he has been asked to deliver a key lecture on Schopenhauer, but Cornelia is dead and Michael has disappeared on a drinking bout with his father's pistol in his pocket. With his career at make-or-break point, Christopher's family is not helping. A marvellously inventive play full of compassion and humour.

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  8            Female:  10            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Vicar Of Wakefield, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
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1st Produced:

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Music:
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Genre:
Adaptation

Parts:
Male:  6            Female:  5            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Wake, The

Synopsis:
the Wake recounts the story of a woman, returning from the USA to her home town in Ireland. As her family learn of her years as a prostitute, she learns their attitudes and Irish society in general. A homecoming play, haunting yet fiercely comic.

Notes:
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1st Produced:

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  5            Female:  5            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Whistle In the Dark, A

Whistle In the Dark, A
A Whistle in the Dark depicts the reunion of an Irish family in Coventry. "It is a considerable and refreshing shock to encounter this clenched fist of a play. . .National identity has been a theme in contemporary Irish Drama common to Murphy, Friel and McGuinness. Nothing has been so brutish and direct, though, as this picture of Irishmen 'over here' asserting themselves in one of England's post-war dream cities" (Financial Times)

Notes:
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1st Produced:

Company:
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1st Published:
Methuen Drama, London   978-1408173190

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  7            Female:  1            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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White House, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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