Riots greeted the first performance of The Playboy of the Western World at Dublin's Abbey Theatre on 26 January 1907. Eggs, potatoes and even a slice of fruit cake were hurled at the actors during subsequent performances, and it seems unlikely that much of the actual play could have been heard in the uproar. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World, with the two other plays in this volume, Yeats's The Countess Cathleen (1892) and O'Casey's Cock-a-doodle Dandy (1949), mark vital stages in the rich explosion of Irish drama that first made itself heard at the turn of the century and gathered momentum during the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Civil War.
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