The Hostage has ratings and 10 reviews. Manny said: The bells of hell go ting-a-ling-a-lingFor you but not for heOh Death where is thy sting-a-ling. ”The Hostage” was a collaboration between an intuitive dramatist, Brendan Behan, and an inspired director, Joan Littlewood. In England and. An essential text in the development of modern British dramaFirst staged by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop company at the Theatre.

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The Hostage (play) – Wikipedia

The Hostage is a loose English version, with songs, adapted in a much longer text from a one-act Irish language play An Giallby its author, Brendan Behan.

The Hostage depicts the events leading up to the planned execution of an year-old IRA member in a Belfast jail, accused of killing an Ulster policeman. Like the protagonist of The Quare Fellowthe audience never sees him. The action of the play is set in a very odd house of ill-repute on Nelson StreetDublinowned by a former IRA commandant.

The hostage of the title is Leslie Williams, a young and innocent Cockney British soldier taken at the border with Northern Ireland and held in the brothel, brought among the vibrant but desperately unorthodox combination of prostitutes, revolutionaries and general low characters inhabiting the place.


During the course of the play, a love story develops between Leslie and Teresa played by Marie Rafferty [1] a young girl, resident of the house. Both are orphans living foreign to the city they find themselves in, Teresa being from BallymahonCounty Longford. During this Teresa promises never to forget him.

Leslie is killed in the ensuing gunfight, by police bullets. The play has a large cast of over 13 characters with the Irish characters representing different facets of Irish nationalism. In their comic representations, they express Behan’s dislike for different aspects of Nationalist, Catholic, Republican Ireland’s vision of itself by the late s.

The play switches suddenly between comedy, serious political commentary and tragedy throughout its two hours. This constant change of tone is heightened further by its regular changes from prose to song, with a number of popular nationalist ballads punctuating the narrative, when sung by different cast members.

In this it mirrors the music hall tradition of Dublin both pre- and post-independence and anticipates the later s British satire on the First Teh Warthe play Oh, What a Lovely War! Pat, Leslie English Soldier Mr.

The principal themes of the play are innocence set against the political motives and ambitions of others; and the arbitrary power of authority. It examines the Anglo-Irish relationship, and the Irish themselves.

The Books: “The Hostage” (Brendan Behan)

Behan uses Brechtian techniques of directly addressing the audience, using song and dance to offset the tragedy of the situation. It subsequently transferred to the West End theatre and Broadway. Theatre Workshop used improvisational theatre to develop performance, and the text was revised during production, in a collaboration between Behan, Littlewood and the cast. Dublin in directed by Don Foley and Eamon Draper.


During the Embankment performances, the cast met Brendan Behan’s mother and pictures were taken, one which was printed in the press. A review was also published in the Dublin press. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.

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