The Quare Fellow by Brendan Behan
56 years after its first performance in the 50 seater Pike Theatre, The New Theatre: Dublin (66 seater) will honour the spirit of Brendan Behan by once again staging a huge theatrical work in a small intimate space.
The play is set in Mountjoy Jail on the day and night before the unnamed Quare Fellow is to be hanged for murdering his brother. Brendan Behan had spent time in the same jail for his IRA activities.
The play had a huge impact on its premiere at The Pike Theatre, but the Ireland of the 1950s was not ready or mature enough to embrace a working class republican playwright writing about hanging, which was still a judicial sentence in Ireland at that time. It could not get a run in one of the bigger Dublin theatres and it was not until Joan Littlewood directed the show in 1956 in her theatre in London, and its subsequent transfer to the West End for a six month run, that Ireland and the world woke up to the genius of Brendan Behan.