John B Keane season launched

Two unproduced plays may be put on in coming years

Promoters MCD have bought the rights to seven of John B Keane’s plays to show them as part of a season over the coming years.

Moll, starring Mary McEvoy, Frank Kelly and Des Keogh, will be the first of what is hoped will be an annual season of Keane's plays.

The other plays that MCD will show over the coming years include The Chastitute, Sharon's Grave and The Year of the Hiker.

MCD will have the exclusive rights to stage the plays for a four-week run at the Gaiety Theatre and no other professional productions of the plays will take place.


However, MCD executive producer Caroline Downey said plays like Moll, which were very popular, could still be performed by amateur dramatic companies.

"It is one thing that Mary Keane, John B's wife, was keen about," she said. "We want to have a season that will appeal to tourists and school groups and that they knew in advance what we intend to do."

Moll starts on May 29th for four weeks.

Members of the Keane family were at the launch yesterday. Keane’s son Seán said there were two unproduced plays by his father that may be put on in the coming years.

One, called Vigilante, was about the infamous GAA ban on "foreign games", he said, the other, entitled Piseog, about the old Irish curse.

Mr Keane said his father did not want Vigilante performed when he was alive because of his love of the GAA, while the other play, about the traditional custom of throwing a cow's afterbirth into a neighbour's field for bad luck, could have identified the people on which the play was based.

Mr Keane believed the controversy over The Field made his father think twice about staging both plays.

“My father never courted controversy, but it came his way.”

Both of the plays could be produced but “they need a bit of work”, he added.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times