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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Current Cake and Playboys - Yeats, and Dead Beat Discuss Synge

"So W.B. you were talking about Synge."

"I want to escape this nightmare D.B."

"Finish your Synge story first."

"And then we will not dream of each other again. Our paths will not cross. W.B. Yeats, Nobel Laureate, will not set eyes of the unsavoury Dead Beat character infinitum?"

"It's a deal, Willy Boy."

"I don't even know if I should trust you.... When I had landed from a fishing yawl on the middle of the island of Aran, a few months before my first meeting with Synge, a little group of islanders, who had gathered to watch a stranger's arrival, brought me to the oldest man upon the island. He spoke but two sentences, speaking them very slowly, "If any gentleman has done a crime we'll hide him. There was a gentleman that killed his father and I had him in my house three months till he got away to America." It was a play (The Playboy of the Western World) founded on that old man's story Synge brought back with him. A young man arrives at a little public house and tells the publican's daughter that he has murdered his father. He so tells it that he has all her sympathy, and every time he retells it, with new exaggerations and additions, he wins the sympathy of somebody or other, for it is the countryman's habit to be against the law. The countryman thinks the more terrible the crime the greater must the provocation have been. The young man himself under the excitement of his own story becomes gay, energetic, and lucky. He prospers in love and comes in first at the local races and bankrupts the roulette table afterwards. Then the father arrives with his head bandaged but very lively, and the people turn upon the impostor. To win back their esteem he takes up a spade to kill his father in earnest, but horrified at the threat of what had sounded so well in the story, they bind him to hand over to the police. The father releases him and father and son walk off together, the son, still buoyed up by his imagination, announcing that he will be master henceforth. Picturesque, poetical, fantastical, a masterpiece of style and of music, the supreme work of our dialect theatre, it roused the populace to fury. We played it under police protection, seventy police in the theatre the last night, and five hundred, some newspaper said, keeping order in the streets outside. It is never played before any Irish audience for the first time without something or other being flung at the players. In New York a currant cake and a watch were flung, the owner of the watch claiming it at the stage door afterwards."

"What about the cake. W.B.? Did anyone claim that?"


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