It's 1921, and the Irish War of Independence rages on the streets of Dublin as Irish revolutionaries clash with British auxiliary forces. Aspiring poet Donal Davoren tries to avoid the conflict, but when Donal learns of a rumor that he is a gunman on the run, he cannot resist the curiosity it stirs in beautiful young Minnie Powers…and he cannot escape the attention of his other neighbors. As the rumor grows, the war outside moves closer to home with tragic consequences.
The Shadow of a Gunman premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 1923 to immediate success, selling out tickets for the first time in Abbey history and establishing Sean O'Casey's career as a playwright at age 43. The first of O'Casey's Dublin Plays, this two-act work is written in his characteristic tragicomic style. Although it is widely considered a masterpiece, it is less well known than the later two Dublin Plays.