Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

On Bailie's Strand & The Death of Cuchulain: W.B. Yeats

The Cuchulain of the plays undermines the Cuchulain of the poems. The Cuchulain of the poems is an impersonal force; the Cuchulain of the plays is a vain, grandiloquent twit. Yeats was straining after a kind of mythic drama (he took Shakespeare to task for humanizing his kings) but it's in the nature of theatre to demythologize. You put a god or a hero on stage and he immediately becomes a man- personified in a particular actor- and anything you make him say or do reveals his human character- or lack of it.

Both plays rely on the audience having prior knowledge of the mythos. This is particularly- aggressively- true of the Death of Cuchulain- which has a prologue that effectively tells the unscholarly (and for some unexplained reason, the self-educated)  to fuck of and die. This, I would humbly submit, is no way to run a theatre.
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