Socialist Shenanigans and Emerald Epiphanies: The Case of Margaretta D'Arcy and John Arden
This essay explores the two meanings of “radical” – the popular one of “sharp-edged’”or “extreme” and the original one of “rooted within the culture” – in relation to selected works of D’Arcy and Arden: The Non-Stop Connolly Show (1975), Vandaleur’s Folly (1978) and The Little Gray Home in the West (1978). Within the space of contradiction between these meanings, the paper considers such issues as the political function of the outsider, the rival claims of reform and revolution, relationships between text and means of production and between forms and audience ownership. The perennial question of the battle between republicanism and socialism frames much of the discourse. In concluding, the essay considers where these works stand in the aftermath of Thatcherism and the Celtic Tiger Economy, and whether there is any “radical” legacy left by these works in Irish theatre.