Lloyd Cooney in "The Plough And The Stars."

"Th’ time is rotten ripe for revolution.”

Set amidst the tumult of the Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising, Sean O’Casey’s searing “The Plough and The Stars” is the story of ordinary lives ripped apart by idealism and revolution. The play opens with the domestic hum of a Dublin tenement and its residents just before the uprising’s violence sweeps through the streets and dramatically impacts their lives. Once the smoke has cleared, what kind of Ireland awaits them?

"The Plough and the Stars" was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1926 and led to riots by Nationalists who thought it defamed the patriots. Now considered a masterpiece, it has become essential in our understanding of the forces that rocked Ireland in 1916, one hundred years ago, and included members of The Abbey Theatre. "The Plough and the Stars" is the third play in O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy that began with “Shadow of a Gunman” and “Juno and the Paycock.”

Director of the upcoming performances of “The Plough and the Stars”, Sean Holmes, won the Olivier Award for Sarah Kane’s “Blasted” and brings a new perspective to Sean O’Casey’s timeless and absorbing play.

Read more: Sean O'Casey's enduring legacy and the Abbey Theatre

The cast for this production includes: Ian Lloyd Anderson. Kate Stanley Brennan, Tony Clay, Lloyd Cooney, David Ganly, Rachel Gleeson, James Hayes, Liam Heslin, Ger Kelly, Janet Moran, Ciaran O’Brien, Nima Talghani, Eileen Walsh and Nyree Yergainharsian. Set design is by Jon Bauser; Costumes are by Catherine Fay; lighting by Paul Keogan and Music and sound design are by Philip Stewart.

In conjunction with the performances of "The Plough and the Stars," Lucy McDiarmid, author of “At Home in the Revolution: What Women Said and Did in 1916” (Royal Irish Academy, 2015) and Marie Frazee-Baldassarre Professor of English at Montclair State University, gives a free talk entitled “Male Spaces with Women in Them: Gender, 1916, and the Revolution in Ireland” on Thursday, October 20 at 2:45 p.m. at Montclair State University’s School of Business, Room 140.

McDiarmid will look at the ways women participated in Ireland's most important revolution. They were present in great numbers but never quite equal to the men in authority. Kate Byrne jumped through a closed window; Leslie Price entered through the main door; other women entered as nurses or secretaries.  No ticket required – all are welcome.

W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory founded the Abbey Theatre in 1904 as the voice of an emerging nation. It proudly remains Ireland's national theater and the birthplace of great plays that have achieved worldwide recognition as classics, among them “The Playboy of the Western World,” Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy, Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer” and “Dancing at Lughnasa,” among many others.

The Abbey Theatre’s acclaimed production of “Quietly” is currently on view at The Irish Repertory Theater and has extended its run. These productions come at the end Fiach Mac Conghail’s successful 12 years as The Abbey’s Artistic Director in which he found even more new ears for the glorious music of Irish plays.

Honored with a Citation for Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Peak Performances continues to honor its audience by presenting daring, world class entertainment at an affordable (and astonishing) $20 ticket.

 Performances: Thursday, October 20th at 7:30 pm, Friday, October 21st at 7:30 pm,

Saturday, October 22nd at 8pm and Sunday, October 23rd at 3pm. 

Running time: 2 hours and 32 minutes, 2 intermissions.

Admission: $20 for all performances.


The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043. Tickets for the 2016-17 season go on sale July 5. All tickets are $20 and are available at the box office, www.peakperfs.org or by calling 973 655 5112.


Programs in this season are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of The National Endowment for the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.