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John B. Keane

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  1. 128 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (adapté aux mobiles)
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eBook - ePub


John B. Keane

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Sive is a young and beautiful orphan who lives with her uncle Mike, his wife Mena and his mother Nanna. A local matchmaker, Thomasheen SeĂĄn Rua, wants Sive to marry an old man called Sean DĂłta. Thomasheen convinces Mike and Mena to organise the marriage. They will receive a sum of two hundred pounds as soon as she marries him. However, Sive is in love with a young man, Liam Scuab. But Liam is not suitable and is refused permission to marry Sive. Sive is distraught but is forced to do the will of her uncle and his bitter wife. Faced with an unthinkable future she takes the only choice left to her. Set against the harsh poverty and difficult times of 1950s Ireland, Sive caused considerable controversy on its debut in February 1959. Since then it has become an established part of Ireland's theatrical canon.

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Mercier Press



[The kitchen is poorly furnished, with an open hearth on its left wall. A door leads to a bedroom at the left side of the hearth. On the wall facing the audience there is a small window, and a door leads to the yard at the front of the house.
A large dresser, filled with ware in its upper half, stands between the door and the window. The lower part has doors. A third door is in the right wall of the kitchen with a small working-table at one side. Overhead a mirror hangs. Under the table are two buckets and a basin. A 20-gallon creamery tank stands between the door and the table with a half-filled sack of meal and a half-sack of flour.
A larger table stands in the middle of the floor. There are six sugan chairs; two beside the table; two by the fire; the others on either side of the dresser.
In the hearth a black skillet hangs from a crane and a large black kettle rests in a corner. An enamel bucket of drinking water is on the table.
The time is the recent past, a late evening of a bitter March day.
An old woman bent forward with age, dressed in black, sits near the fire surreptitiously smoking a clay pipe, she is NANNA GLAVIN, mother of the man of the house. She holds the tongs, idly gathering the fire; with the other hand she conveys the pipe continuously between lap and mouth.
When she hears the door latch lifting the tongs falls in her haste to conceal the pipe. A great quantity of red petticoat, and long boots tied up to her shins, are revealed when she lifts her skirt to hide the pipe.
Her skirts are hardly in place again, when another woman enters. The newcomer is strong, well-proportioned, hard-featured, in her early forties: her hair raven-black tied sharply in a bun gives the front of her head the appearance of being in want of hair, or being in a coif. She is MENA, wife of the man of the house.]
There’s a smell of smoke!
[Crossly:] ’Tis the way you left the fire when you went out.
Not turf smoke, oul’ woman, tobacco smoke!
Tobacco smoke how are you? [NANNA seizes the tongs and belabours the fire.]
In the name of all that’s dead and gone, wouldn’t you take out your pipe and smoke it, not be humpin’ yourself there, like a cat stealin’ milk?
[MENA bends to take one of the buckets from under the working-table. She puts it between her boots and pours water from the full enamel drinking bucket into it. She replaces the enamel drinking bucket.]
[Irritably:] Such clatter!
[MENA, scoops several fistfuls of meal from the bag into the bucket.]
No clatter unless ’tis your own. Wouldn’t you give over talkin’, and take out your pipe [wearily] and not be hiding it when we walk in and out of the kitchen?
Am I to be scolded, night and day in my own house? Ah! ’twas a sore day to me my son took you for a wife. What a happy home we had before you came into it! Fitter for you be having three of four children put from you at this day of your life.
I had my fortune; ’twasn’t for the want of a roof over my head that I came here. I could have done better if I bided my time. [Lifts the bucket and turns to the door.]
We all know what you could do, girl, and the stock you came from 
 and the cabin you came out of! [Laughs a little forcefully.] Where ye used to drink yeer tay out of jam pots for the want of cups. Oh, indeed, you needn’t tell me about yourself. A nice bargain you were!
You have nothing else to do but talk. Saying your prayers you should be, at this hour of your days, instead of cackling with your bad tongue 
 Where was your poor amadawn of a son before I came here? Pulling bogdeal out of the ground with a jinnet, going around like a half-fool with his head hanging by him 
 you give me the puke with your grandeur. Take out your dirty doodeen of a pipe and close your gob on it, woman. I have something else to do besides arguing with you.
[MENA lifts the latch to go out. As she does so, the door opens and a pretty young girl enters. She is aged about 18 and wears a grey tweed coat, a little too small for her. A flimsy scarf covers her head. She carries a satchel, filled with books, in her hand...

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