Page 4, 24th August 1951

24th August 1951
Page 4
Page 4, 24th August 1951 — Edinburgh Festival
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Edinburgh Festival

By W. J. IGOE

THE DUBLIN PLAYERS

(THE LAURISTON HALL, EDINBURGH)

E DI N BU RGH and Vienna are the RV° most beautiful cities in Europe. Each has pattern and design.

Not only the natural prejudice of a Scotsman suggests that " Auld Reekie" has the advantage of the Austrian capital because of its setting. The one elegantly sprawls like a necklace encircling a handful of jewels; Edinburgh reaches to the sky, a rude and noble work of sculpture carved from living stone that still retains its native hues.

It is Scottish and yet, as no other in this island, European. Its origin is pre-Christian; its story-could inspire great bards. Mr. D. B. Wyndham Lewis, in his biography of Ronsard, describes Edinburgh at the time of the last Queen of Scotland, Mary Stewart, who was martyred for her Faith and took, one sometimes thinks. all the grace of Christendom, all the beauty of Catholicism then passed with her, leaving only the beauty and terror of the country as God made it, before the redemption: and the people with their native virtues of honesty of thought and integrity of purpose. intellectually split, spiritually embittered by the provincial knave, local agitator and squalid blackguard. John Knox.

It is a • salutary meditation for Scotch Catholics that the good God loved Knox.

ANION(' the things thus stifled at the birth of the new age in Scotland was the theatre. For centuries we had no national drama; it is only within living memory that the works of men like James Bridle, Eric Linklatei, the author of Jamie the Sar, Inc Corric and that paradoxical genius, as Irish as the Glens of Antrim, Paul Vincent Carroll, have expressed our people's tragedy and comedy in the playhouse.

The Edinburgh Festival. justly famous—there never was such a city for a festival of the arts—while it has gathered dramatic talent from all the world and given it a stage, has been deficient in presenting native plays older than the century.

The Three Estates, a work of some interest to students andno little theatrical value. is misleading in that it is necessary to cut it for contentporary presentation, and it gives a view of the Catholic Church provin cial in time. It is caricatures in pastiche. ind misleading. Douglas, offered last year, is a piece of fustian chiefly notable for the reaction of a lady in the gallery at its performance in Edinburgh be Mrs. Siddons; local patriotism, not a delicate critical faculty. prompted this dame's enquiry: " Whatir's your Wullic Shakespeare, noo?"

THE modern Scottish theatre is healthy, owing something to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, with which spiritually and intellectually the Scottish actor has much in common. Personality is more self-consciously national in our two countries. And we are Celtic peoples.

One therefore applauds the Catholics responsible for inviting Mr. Lennox Robinson and a company of Dublin Players, led by Mr. Denis O'Dea and Miss Siobhan McKenna to Edinburgh this year.

It would be impertinence to state the obvious; performers from the great theatre do honour to Edin burgh by playing there. But the choice of plays is, I feel, peculiarly interesting.

The Playboy of the Western World is one of the two great masterpieces of drama written in English since Shakespeare, the other being Juno and the Payeock. Synge's work. and Mr. Robinson's own The whireheaded Boy and Yeat's Caithlin Ni Houlihan will make the Scottish programmes. As a representation of the Irish theatre in the last fifty years this could not he bettered.




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