The Playboy of The Western World

The Playboy of The western World is undoubtedly Synge’s masterpiece and tells the tale of Christy Mahon who believing he has killed his father with the blow of a loy, goes on the run from his native Kerry. After 11 days walking he arrives in a Sheeben in Mayo where he tells of his deed and is feted as a hero and has women fighting over him.

The Playboy was first performed in the Abbey Theatre in January 1907 and caused riots. The audience took exception to the vulgarity of the characters’ language, the depiction of Shawn Keogh’s cringing servitude to the local priest and the hero-worshipping by the villagers of a shameless ‘killer’. Two of his previous plays were also controversial to the Nationalists (Arthur Griffith & Pearse) … In the Shadow of the Glen & Riders to the Sea. In the folklore of the ‘Playboy riots’ the final straw for the audience was a reference by Christy Mahon to a drift of females standing in their shifts.

The Playboy is neither comedy nor tragedy but certainly has elements of both, and of course the final line is probably the best know line in Irish theatre … Oh my griefI’ve lost him surely. I’ve lost the only Playboy of the Western World.

Ennis Players production won many awards on the circuit and qualified for the All-Ireland Finals in Athlone, where they were placed 3rd and Jackie Scanlan won the award for Best Supporting Actor. The award were as follows:

All-Ireland Finals        3rd Place

                                    Best Supporting Actor                        Jackie Scanlan

1st Place                                                                                  Doonbeg, Carnew (South Wicklow), Claremorris, (Mayo),

2nd Place                                                                                 Castleisland (Kerry)

3rd Place                                                                                  Kiltyclogher (Leitrim)

Best Overall Production              Doonbeg, Claremorris

Best Director                               Geraldine Greene                 Doonbeg, Carnew, Claremorris

Best Actor                                   Joe Varden                           Doonbeg, Carnew, Claremorris

Best Supporting Actress             Bernie Harten                       Kiltyclogher, Doonbeg

Best Lighting                               Mick Kelly                            Claremorris

Best Moment of Theatre             Race Scene                          Doonbeg

Best Presentation                                                                     Doonbeg, Claremorris

Most Entertaining Play                                                             Doonbeg



Christy Mahon                        Joe Varden

Old Mahon                             Hugh Gallagher

Pegeen Mike                          Saoirse Byrne

Michael James Flaherty         Mick Loughnane

Widow Quin                           Bernie Harten

Shawn Keogh                        Jackie Scanlan

Philly Cullen                           Eric Healy

Jimmy Farrell                         Derek Crosbie

Sara Tansey                          Cora Condon

Susan Brady                          Kathleen Browne

Honor Blake                           Ally Carr

Crowd                                    Aidan O’Gara, Monica Gallagher, Patricia Clune, Bob Connors, Michael Gleeson, David Woods, Olivia Loughnane


DIRECTOR                          GERALDINE GREENE