Yeats as Dramatist," expands on Yeats's role in bringing Irish theatre into an international repute as founding member of the Irish Literary Theatre and co-director of the Irish National Theatre
Society while the Abbey came into being in 1904.
Although realism came to be the dominant mode of representation at the Irish national theatre
in subsequent years, it was Yeats's aristocratic, symbolic plays, with all their artifice, that mapped out the liminal space where art and political power intersect, and which endorsed the radical self-sacrifice of republican nationalism, of death as the ultimate resistance to an unjust state.
The play is about the founding of the Irish National Theatre
and was first performed in 2004 to celebrate the centenary of Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
Two symbolic events might be the art exhibition masterminded by Hugh Lane in the Guildhall in 1904, bringing Irish painters to London, and the wildly successful visit to the capital of the Irish National Theatre
Society (just about to be reconstituted as the Abbey Theatre), presenting radically economical new plays by Yeats and Synge.
However, when William Butler Yeats, one of the leading forces behind the foundation of both the Irish Literary Theatre (1899-1901) and the Irish National Theatre
Society (1903), heard about the Ulstermen's artistic project, he would not allow them to use one of his companies' names and forbade them from staging dramas he was in the process of copyrighting.
Most recently, Una has worked as a producer for the Abbey Theatre, the Irish national theatre
, on special projects and on the development, through a public-private partnership arrangement, of the National Aquatic Centre for Ireland.
By 1902 Yeats had joined with other literary figures to establish first the Irish Literary Theatre and then the Irish National Theatre
Society (later the Abbey Theater).
In this first volume Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford, limits himself to the "young" Yeats--poet of the Celtic Twilight, occasional speaker, serious dramatist, and one of the founders in 1897 of the Irish Literary Theatre, which evolved into the Irish National Theatre
Society and then into the Abbey Theatre.
In the decade and a half prior to his marriage, he had been especially occupied with managing the Irish National Theatre
, which he had founded with Lady Gregory, and while he continued to refine his great gift of lyric rhetoric, the occasions of his poems had become less frequent than in his youth and were often some public controversy or mere event of private life.
In what is perhaps a tribute to Yeats and Maud Gonne's roles as playwright and actress in the founding of the Irish National Theatre
, the play ends with an Abbey Theatre-style flourish.
He gains experience as an orator on a punishing lecture tour of North America, and as a controversialist in the battles to defend the Irish Literary Theatre and Irish National Theatre
Society against moralistic or Nationalist censorship; a hard-headed resoluteness likewise informs his negotiations with publishers.
Each (always misspelled) person whom Yeats meets, from the editors of London literary journals, the actors in the emergent Irish National Theatre
Society, the countless people encountered across America - like the 'big priests' of the University of Notre Dame whom Yeats especially enjoyed - are all correctly spelled, dated, and given concise biographies in the footnotes.