John Patrick Shanley on Outside Mullingar

March 18, 2016

Outside Mullingar is a relational comedy about love, death, home and hope: fulfillment of promises and the places we find reconciliation.

One of America's most celebrated playwrights, John Patrick Shanley writes characters with grace, humour and complexity.  With Outside Mullingar he set out to explore unknown (but personal) territory.

"I always knew I'd have to come home eventually.  I'm Irish as hell: Kelly on one side, Shanley on the other.  My father had been born on a farm in the Irish Midlands.  He and his brothers had been shepherds there, cattle and sheep, back in the early 1920s.  I grew up surrounded by brogues and Irish music, but stayed away from the old country till I was over 40. I just couldn't own being Irish...

"When I finally went to Ireland, I had to go.  It was 1993.  My father was finally too old to travel alone, and he asked me to take him home.  When an old man asks you to take him home, you have to do it.

"When I sat with my father in that farm kitchen, the one that he had grown up in, and listened to my Irish family talk, I recognized that this was my Atlantis, the lost and beautiful world of my poet's heart.  There was no way to write about the farm, yet I had to write about it.  I listened to this amazing language these folks were speaking as if it were normal conversation, and I knew this was my territory..."

Read the rest of John Patrick Shanley on his Irishness and Outside Mullingar in the New York Times.

John Patrick Shanley on Outside Mullingar

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