Sloping slowly and sadly southwards from Portsteward where nothing happened, in a Beckettian sense, twice for the host with the most moola. For Rory Mack (for it was he!) on Thursday thru Friday of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Gulf-Golf Chamipionship his appearance was (gulp) Pinteresque..
Of the dramatic sort.
ACT 1: The Homecoming.
Still intent of injecting ACTS 2 and 3 of the badly needed Dramatic Beastie into Ireland’s Ancient Eastie in order to give it a leg up while it lags so far behind the bells and whistles branding of WAW ! (Wild Atlantic Way !) one finds oneself in search of a play commencing with M.
As ‘Ireland is the only English-speaking country left in the EU’ is a motto which could only have been nightmared up by Bored Fawlty in DOBland’s Fair Ciity it is logical that the second act in this dramatic trilogy should commence with the inevitale letter in question:
-Strike the gong ! Craughwell rings a bell !
Yes, indeed, Craughwell, County Galway which is located contagious to the (gasp) Fields of Athenry. But let one not hold that against it, which Bored Fawlty certainly would indubitably not. And if Craughwell does not ring a Nobel as Potstewart did with Harold Pinter then it contrived to pull a Pulitzer.
For it was in the early months of 1960, five years after Pinter had played in Porstewart that America’s leading dramatist of the 20th Century stayed in Craughwell House while grappling with the script of:
No it did not preview the female offpring of Lord Balls’ Up of Hell’s Bells though the dramatist in question did also suffer similarly from Sliding Spectacles Syndrome.
Love is blind (1) and so was Antoine Dall Ó Raifteiri , file, who is buried in Craughwell boneyard. John Huston, the fillum director, was living in Craughwell House in the year of 19 hundred and 60 (Fat Pat-speak) and that is what brought Arthur Miller (for it was he !) to the elegant country pile.
Love is blind (2) and when Arthur Miller left his spouse in 1956 with the less than household name of Mary Grace Slattery for to wed Marilyn M some unkind cnawvshawlees (who are also with us, alas) opinined that the blonde curvaceous maiden (look away, Una Mull !) whose best asset gave rise to the Mountainy Challenge known as the Monroes, must have been blinkered.
On the lookout for a husband, she found a father-figure : ‘she was the miller’s daughter’ that kinda thingy that some were prompted to sing at the time.
Referring to the drama , she described it as:
-Arthur’s Valentine to me was the script of the Misfits which we hoped would restore our marriage.
Valentie is right, if the massacring this mismash of a movie script received from the wall-eyed critics was anything to go by.
Delay followed delay as Arthur Miller made up the script as he went along: the previous day’s dialogue was ditched in favour of today’s dialogue today. It turned out to be the two main performer’s last movies: Clark Gable died of a coronary before the fillum was released while the, by now, second former Mrs Arthur Miller succumbed to a killer OD of narcotics not too long afterwards.
The angelic Angelica Huston who was nine at the time of the myopic Arthur Miller’s soujourn in Craughwell House might well have cured Antoine Ó Raifteiri of his blindness if they had been but contemperaneous. Which brings us to another reason why The Misfits bombed: moola problems.
For its Director, the daddy of Angelica, was not only a rambler but he was a gambler too. He was preternaturally attracted to Casinos, and not just in the Italianate sense of that word, i.e. an elegant pile, whether rural or urban.
The Arthurian miller who was into dough, bigly (although the Writers Guild of Hollywood was on one of its periodic strikes at the time, AM, the principled dramatist and celebrated champion of the underdog – ‘they have it woof’ – continued to sneakily beaver away, to write and rewrite the dippy script of The Misfits under the cover of night).
Marilyn M was not best pleased: the husband whom she viewed as a Lincoln was morphing into a, erm, John Wilkes Booth-boy before her own very eyes. Thus, this led to much door-slamming while AM was, in his own Proscenium-arched and patrician if bespectacled eyes, ‘slumming’ it in the motion picture industry.
Speaking of sightlines, the ominous signs were already there in the lyrics of Blind Raftery the Poet:
-Anois teacht an Airgid -In this downpour of dosh
Beidh mo phá ag dul chun síneadh I must pack my mackintosh
… Féach anois mé, m’aghaidh le balla ……. Look at me now, face to the wall
Ag seinm ceoil do phócai folmha. Fiddling not, on the street called Wall.
But then, in the crud-shot eyes of Bored Fawtly, this Erse-versifirer would be the greatest Misfit of them all ‘in the only English-speaking country left in the EU’: in its CaraunToole-high output of promotional bumpf re ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ the Leprechaun does not rate a Billy-boy alienating syllable.
Through a glass of Guinness, clearly, BF has as little regard for Leprechaun as the blissfully retired have for, say, the the contemporary greeting TGIF. So, we need not detain ourselves with that wall-eyed póit-taster of the Aos Dána stripe.
Still, there is enough of the Dramatic Beastie about the Miller stint in Craughwell to be grist to the mill of the faltering ‘ Ireland’s Ancient Eastie’. Or is there? One must go on, in search of the elusvie ACT 3 of the play in which ACTS 1 and 2 are:
-The Homecoming, Portstewart Town Hall.
-The Misfits, Craughwell House.
So far so goodish:
Staggering southward in seach of the elusive, erm, drama beginning with F one finds onself, having landed in Strand, County Limerick, having a hack-attack:
-Hold the front page ! Hold the front page !
Bingo, we have it:
-ACT 3: The Front Page.
Which immediately poses a problem or two: a village called Strand, County Limerick is possibly within earshot of the Wild Atlantic Way; it gets even wilder than that.
In 1974 the never less than brilliant Billy Wilder (or, as they pronounce it in Limerick – brill-ant) directed The Front Page, starring Jack Lemon and Walter Mathau. But like The Misfits it too originated in a dramatist’s brain; indeed in the brains of a dramatic duo.
To wit, to woo, a pair of former hacks from a Chicago tabloid, Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur (that recurring A-name!) who co-penned a rapid-fire stage comedy called The Front Page which became a Broadway Hit in 1928.
The key character is Earl Williams , due to be inducted into the Swinger Hall of Fame in four days time, for having plugged a po-liceman. Noose hounds gathered from near and nearer to witness the doomed dude do the Gallows Hornpipe as might be orchestrated by the Gallowglass Céili Band.
Then, The Earl broke free from chokey, thereby denying the hangman the opportunity to give him a, erm, hempen whirl.
Voice from the Gods:
-Cut to the Chase !
Earl Williams (or, as they pronounce it in Limerick, Will-ums) was based on ‘Terrible’ Tommy O’Connor. The latter went AWOL in 1921 before his appointment with a bitterly disappointed State Scaffolder. He is still at large.
Indeed, he became so much a part of the warp and woof of the urban mythology in the Windy City that the scaffold was preserved intacta till 1977 in the Cook County Jail, with the large caption attached:
-Tired of Waiting Tommy.
Tommy O’Connor still looks uncannily like (gasp) Brendan O’Carroll, the comedienne, in his mugshots. Little wonder therefore he acquired the sobriquet: ‘Terrible’. He was born and reared in (gulp) Strand, County Limerick. Now while the surname Earls is not unknown on Shannonside, Tommy’s actual name was ‘O’Connor’ before he blew into the Windy City.
Voila ! The 3 ACT Play is now complete and ready for delivery to Bored Fawlty, the Dramatic Beastie so desperately requiled by the ailing ‘Ireland’s Ancient Beastie’.
-ACT 1: The Homecoming, Portstewart Town Hall.
-ACT 2: The Misfits, Craughwell House.
-ACT 3: The Front Page, Strand Parish Hall.
Voila ! HMF.
-A Limerick ! A Limerick ! A Limerick for one’s ailing ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ !
The Perkin’s inner waster of a poetaster is only too happy to lend a hand to the failing Bored Fawlty:
The key to all drama is catharsis
The mighty falling on their arses
And the windy prolix
Kicked in their colics
Stage right: Her Majesty’s Farces.