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Three Plays: Juno and the Paycock / The Shadow of a Gunman / The Plow and the Stars

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,307 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Sean O'Casey was born in 1880 and lived through a bitterly hard boyhood in a Dublin tenement house. He never went to school but received most of his education in the streets of Dublin, and taught himself to read at the age of fourteen. He was successively a newspaper-seller, docker, stone-breaker, railway-worker and builders' labourer. In 1913 he helped to organise the Iri ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published October 15th 1969 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Barry Pierce
I'd read The Shadow of a Gunman and Juno and the Paycock years ago but I hadn't read The Plough and the Stars until now. All three plays are quite good. I love how O'Casey writes completely in vernacular, it gives the plays a downright sense of nationalistic importance. Overall it's a good collection.
Roger Cottrell
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A Marxist, a classicist and 20th Century Ireland's greatest playwright. Because of his scrupulous criticism of Republicanism, his revolutionary socialism and exile in Britain he's almost a non person for Irish literary critics and wasn't mentioned once when I was at film school in Dublin. And I ask myself, what's so great about Samuel Becket in any case, when he wouldn't know one end of Aristotle's Poetics from a shovel. O'Casey's representation of working class life in Dublin is brilliant, too. ...more
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Born in Dublin, Sean O’Casey published “The Shadow of a Gunman” in 1923. Set in Dublin in 1920, it was first performed at the Abbey Theater. The play takes place during the War of Independence. Donal Davoren, a poet who is erroneously thought by his neighbors to be a member of the IRA, is living temporarily in a tenement, allowing the misapprehension to stand uncorrected since it is earning him the infatuation of Minnie Powell. The dialogue among the tenement residents is amusing, filled with ma ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irish tragi-comedy, a characteristic particular to the Irish character. Sean O'Casey belonged to the working class and here in these plays captures three Dublin families during the Irish Civil War. It's a fascinating look, and because it's in play form seems almost like listening in at a space in a time long gone. The characters are interesting and we simultaneously feel sorry and annoyed. It's especially tragic the Irish would have turned in on themselves after such a long run of horrors inflic ...more
Ayne Ray
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A renowned Irish playwright committed to socialist ideals, O'Casey was known for his realistic portrayal of Irish tenement life, fully realized female characters, and passion for the cause of Irish independence. Two of the greatest plays of the Irish canon are part of the Dublin plays: "Juno and the Paycock" (about a family in the tenement slums) and "The Plough and the Stars" (set during the time of the famous Easter Uprising of 1916).
Ryan Young
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irisha
3 plays set in 1920s dublin. poverty, poetry, whisky, and jaysus.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, 2017
The Shadow of a Gunman - 2 stars - got better towards the end.

Juno and the Paycock - 2 stars -

The Plough and the Stars -1 star - the most boring of the 3

I found his plays difficult to read because they are written with lots of Irish dialects and i.e. adds "h" to so many words like "afther", "aht" for out, and "wan" for one which makes it hard to read when it's throughout the dialogue. I don't mind some dialect but this has way too much.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First, what I loved most about these plays are the language and how the phonetic words of the Irish from different classes are written on the page. I immediately heard them in my head and was put in the play's time and place. Each play is called a "Tragedy" and the collection is called O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy.

"Juno and the Paycock" takes place in 1922 and was the most vivid in my mind while reading it. 'Paycock' is the Irish way of saying 'peacock'. Paycock refers to Juno's ne'er do well husba
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Plough and the Stars" depicts tenement life in the slums of Dublin on Easter Monday, 1916, the most meaningful date in Irish history. Ironically (perhaps) the Rising takes place offstage with the sound of gunfire and harrowing, erratic reports from the General Post Office battleground the only indication that the most important event in Irish history was taking place close by. The characters in the play have to deal with the ravages of drink, disease and filth so while they are aware of the ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Des francais qui possedent une voiture et qui vivent pres d'un port sur la Manche.
Shelves: english-lit
A force d'avoir lu beacoup de livres anglo-Canadiens et Quebecois, je sais tres bien ce qui est une litterature regionale. Les littératures anglo-canadienne et quebecoise sont des littératures regionales des États-Unis. La litterature Irlandaise est une litterature specifique a une ile dans l'archipel Britannique. Comme les deux littératures de mon pays, la litterature irlandaise est de tres grande qualité mais qui s'occupe souvent des questions profondement insulaire.

Cependant ces pieces qui so
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
I wanted to read something within the Irish nationalist canon during the Easter centennial period.

Three plays, all contemporary plays based within the years of the fight for Irish independence, all set in Dublin working class locales. All within the grand tradition of the tragi-comedy.

I found them to be a little underwhelming. It seems the comedy would come from the utter uselessness, cowardice and drunkenness of 90% of the male characters. The tragedy that the superior womanfolk have to put up
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: irish
They are all tragedies, so you know that all that wrong people are going to die by the end, but these are great. Lots of laughs, tears, song, and alcohol. Working class characters, but there's no whitewashing them, they are as ugly as they want to be ... I guess this stuff is social realism like Gorky or something but it doesn't seem too heavy handed ... until of course all the wrong people die. But actually, if they had lived, you'd think it was corny, so in the end, these are perfect and proba ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it liked it
read: juno and the paycock. (also saw the hitchcock film--which is great, although kinda hard to understand because it's one of his first talking pictures. seriously.)

juno's good. it's funny and interesting and, like all good plays, the last scenes knock you out. plus, there's tons of info about irish history so i really dig that on a personal level.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terribly sad, these are the plays to read if you want to read plays about the effects of terrorism and revolutions. Great works, all three, though Juno and the Paycock may be the best because the juxtaposition that lays in the transition from a near comedy to extreme tragedy makes it the hardest and the saddest of the three, and it also has the most memorable characters.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually only read The Plough and the Stars (for a class) from this edition.

I think I would have liked it so much more if there had been a great audio version of it to read along with. I got lost in the dialect several times.
Alyson Bowers
Feb 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish-lit, plays
Good plays- especially Juno and the Paycock. Alfred Hitchock actually made a movie out of the Juno play...but it really gives a new spin on the Easter Uprising of 1916(?) or around then. O'Casey is a great playwright
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Increasingly depressing look at the destructive effects of war especially on those who believe most in what is being fought for. The dialect gets a little tricky, but it helped to read it out loud, which I guess makes sense since they are plays.
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Each Play is rather good, Juno and the paycock swayed it to 5 stars,

'An' as it blowed an' blowed, I ofen looked at the stars an' assed meself the question: What are the stars? What are the stars?
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009, plays
Slightly different from what I usually read, I found them to be interesting and informative. I liked the perspective on Ireland and people that they gave me.
Read: Juno and the Paycock.
Jessica Walters
I have only read “Juno and the Paycock,” but loved the use of language.
John Weller
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shame about the hat
Gary Mesick
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Darker, IRA-tinged writing, but still quite good and worth your time if you are looking for Irish drama beyond Beckett, Wilde and Shaw.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shwag from My Last Play
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I had to read these for a class. I had never heard of Sean O'Casey before, but he's amazing. I am now an expert on Ireland.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Juno and the Paycock" for a readers group. It is very much based in Irish politics and history but it was very powerful even on the page. On stage it must be very special.
Frank O'connor
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O'Casey's three plays all deal with Ireland's troubled past. They each share a tinge of melodrama, tight plotting, great staging and a genius for Dublin dialogue and character.
Nicole Marino
Classic Irish drama - just truly fantastic works.
For a class, enjoyable but don't remember much
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Seán O'Casey was a major Irish dramatist and memoirist. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes.
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