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The Cherry Orchard; She Stoops to Folly; The Drunkard; The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant
Murphy Plays: 6 brings together four plays by the author inspired by other great works of literature. The Cherry Orchard: In Chekhov's tragi-comedy - perhaps his most popular play - the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces, forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them. Tom Murphy's fine vernacular version allows us to re-imagine the events of the play in the last days of Anglo-Irish colonialism. It gives this great play vivid new life within our own history and social consciousness. She Stoops to Folly: Modelled on Oliver Goldsmith's classic novel The Vicar of Wakefield, Murphy builds a comedy peopled with thieves, pimps, bawds, lechers and imposters who will prey on innocence unless God - or the ruling class - takes a hand. The Drunkard is inspired by the American temperance play first performed in 1844 and attributed to W. H. Smith and A gentleman. A drama in five acts, it was perhaps the most popular play produced in the United States before the dramatization of Uncle Tom's Cabin in the 1850s. An epic family drama, shot through with dark humour, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant tells the tragic story of a family disintegrating, having lost its moral values and is inspired by The Golovlyov Family by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin. It follows Arina who rises from servant girl to matriarch controlling a vast family estate and empire until she slackens her hold and loses her power to the hypocrisy and relentless grasping of her chosen son. Murphy Plays: 6 collects together the author's work derived from or inspired by other great works of literature. The most recent play in the volume, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland, in 2009. Tom Murphy was born in Tuam, County Galway. His plays include A Whistle in the Dark, Conversations on a Home Coming, Balegangaire, The Gigli Concert, and Alice Trilogy. His career has been closely associated with The Abbey Theatre, Dublin who have produced many of his plays. The final play in the volume had its world premiere in May 2009 at the Abbey Theatre. Tom Murphy is one of the most distinguished Irish playwrights. 'The most distinctive, the most restless, the most obsessive imagination in the Irish theatre today' (Brian Friel). The Cherry Orchard remains Chekhov's most popular play and this adaptation which premiered at the Abbey Theatre in 2004 gives it a new contemporary relevance.