Two teenaged footballing heroes are plucked from the tenements of Dublin and lobbed into the Great War battlefields of France in this sweeping Seán O'Casey play, brought to rare life in a dazzling production by one of Ireland's most scintillatingly daring theater companies, Galway's Druid Theatre Company.
The Irish have their own way of telling stories, and Garry Hynes, the Druid's founder and artistic director, captures that national poetry unlike any other director. In 1998 she became the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing, for The Beauty Queen of Leenane. She draws sensitive, realistic performances from her actors in this production of one of the most moving works of the Irish canon.
Set against a backdrop of the Home Rule crisis and the founding of the Irish Free State, The Silver Tassie is a pitiless rendering of youth frayed by war, by turns faithful to the stark realism of traditional Irish theater, by turns an exploration of the expressionistic possibilities of the stage. Playwright Seán O'Casey is exquisitely compassionate in his conception, but he allows no tenderness to his characters, whose suffering reflects the full inhumanity of war.