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March 16, 2019


#Ireland Abbie Spallen (playwright)

by NancyElin



  1. In the political satire…Lally the Scut
  2. a mother struggles to save her little boy
  3. …after he falls into a bog hole.
  4. The play follows Lallys journey going to one towns-person
  5. …to the next trying to find anybody
  6. …who will help her in her crisis.
  7. This task proves difficult for many reasons.
  8. Her  neighbors’ fear that digging up the fields
  9. …will uncover secrets from the Troubles.

Cast: 9 male actors – 3 female actors

  1. Mother: Lally (mid 20s), 7 months pregnant
  2. Father:  Francis (…a bet, drink and a song…happy-go-lucky guy)
  3. Grandmothers: Rahab and Ellen
  4. Townsfolk, media persons, priest, politians
  5. Setting: outskirts of a Northern Irish border town
  6. Theme: conflict in Ireland  …is not over!
  7. The play’s recurrent image of the child lost down a hole
  8. is a allegory for  the island of Ireland’s uncertain future.



  1. The child’s down a hole.
  2. The town’s up in arms.
  3. I would not have understood the allegory
  4. …without having done some research.
  5. This play had so much potential.


  1. Act 1 was just a chaotic mess. 
  2. Narratives from several characters do not intertwine
  3. …but clash. This reader was exasperated.
  4. Also I felt NO real urgency to save the child
  5. …only nonsensical histrionics  by local baker, builder and
  6. …man with a golf club.
  7. To make matters worst Spallen insists on including
  8. expletive-laden narrative.
  9. I can understand this writing style  that is
  10. …dependant on the tone, genre and audience for the play.
  11. But…less is more.
  12. There must be another way to express rage.


  1. Act 2 did not improve.
  2. By the time we get to a mock-torture scene,
  3. shrugged off by a former terrorist
  4. …I had decided this is not for me.
  5. It is very political and somebody
  6. …more in tuned with the The Troubles
  7. the peace process in Northern Ireland
  8. may understand Abbie Spallen’s satire.
  9. I did not.
  10. I could not connect…and believe me I tried.
  11. I researched the play and playwright.
  12. My advice: read  the play and form your own opinion.
  13. #BraveDarkIrishPlay

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 16 2019

    I really struggle to enjoy any play script – I can’t get it off the page when I read it. I find that I tend to enjoy reading a play AFTER I’ve seen it as I can then have image in my head! And also think the expletive ridden stuff works pretty well when you see it but on the page it always seems a bit tedious to me!

    • Mar 16 2019

      I’m sure this play would have been
      a work that must be seen..instead of read.
      There are so many characters for a 2 act play….I couldn’t really
      grasp any of them!
      Thanks for you comment, Col.


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  1. Week 3 round up for Reading Ireland Month!

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