RTÉ Television will remember the 100th anniversary of the Playboy riots with Playboy 100, a night of special programming on RTÉ Two.
Hosted by John Kelly, the night will feature the television premiere of the acclaimed Druid production of The Playboy of the Western World, as well as a specially commissioned documentary looking at the controversy surrounding the play's first night on 26 January 1907 and how the feelings which surfaced on Abbey Street 100 years ago shaped the future of both the Abbey and Irish drama itself.
RTÉ Television's Playboy 100 is an opportunity to see Synge's funny, lyrical and savage play in the context of a broader analysis of the conflict between artistic integrity and communal self-respect. Both are still live issues in our dangerous world.
The Playboy 100 theme night is introduced and linked by John Kelly and commences at 9pm with Playboys and Rebels, a half-hour documentary introducing both the play itself and looking at the background of that dramatic night 100 years ago. Focusing on the tensions between the Anglo-Irish Synge, Yeats and Lady Gregory and the audience of the national theatre which they had founded, Playboys and Rebels looks at how those tensions are still in evidence in modern day Ireland. Contributors include Christopher Morash, Diarmuid Ferriter, John O'Donoghue, Anne Enright, Fiach MacConghail and Colm Toibin.
Playboys and Rebels is followed by the television premiere of The Playboy of the Western World, directed by Garry Hynes in a production for the Druid Theatre Company. Starring Catherine Walsh, Aaron Monaghan, Marie Mullen and Eamonn Morrissey, this production forms part of Druid's acclaimed Synge cycle.
Playboy 100 ends with another opportunity to see Mighty Talk: A Journey with DruidSynge, the Arts Lives documentary which followed Garry Hynes' production of Synge's plays from Galway rehearsal room to acclaim in Dublin, Edinburgh, New York and, in a moving return to the writer's inspiration, the Aran Islands.
A vile and inhuman story told in the foulest language.
Arthur Griffith, The United Irishman, 1907
People stood up in their seats and demanded the withdrawal of the play [The Playboy of the Western World], and when it became clear that the cast was determined to see the thing out to the end, tempers began to fray.
The Splendid Years: Recollections of Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh, 1955
An unmitigated, protracted libel upon Irish peasant men and, worse still, upon Irish peasant girlhood.
The Freeman's Journal, 1907
It was not for the purpose of lessening Ireland's self-respect and holding her people up to the ridicule of the world that the 'National Theatre' was established.
Irish Independent, 1909