Chairperson: Conor McPherson
"The nearest thing to a genius that Ireland can boast of"
This year, Tom Murphy – one of Ireland’s foremost living dramatists – turns 75. To celebrate, Dublin Writers Festival presents a rare evening of reading and conversation with the Dublin-based playwright.
When Tom Murphy raged onto the sixties scene with his incendiary debut A Whistle in the Dark, Kenneth Tynan called it ‘arguably the most uninhibited display of brutality London theatre has ever witnessed.’ The playwright has rarely been far from controversy since. The anticlerical The Sanctuary Lamp (1974) – recently revived at London’s Arcola Theatre – caused such a furore at its Dublin premiere that audiences walked out in ranks.
If these early years were characterised by a dark fury, then the 1980s saw work wildly diverse in tone, style and theme – from the ‘Faustian’ The Gigli Concert and lyrical Bailegangaire to the darkly comic Conversations on a Homecoming. His more recent plays include The Wake (1997), The House (2000) and Alice Trilogy (2005). His latest, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant,premiered last year at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, whose extensive 2001 retrospective almost a decade earlier was a defining moment in the playwright’s career.
Today Tom Murphy remains a restless and probing writer, with a razor-sharp wit, dark edge and profound engagement with contemporary Irish concerns.