Tongues Of Fire


Programme Catalogue - Details: Come The Revolution 164019910314

Producer: P.


Broadcast history

14 Mar 1991 22:25-22:45 (RADIO 3)

Recorded on 1991-02-22


Dublin's Abbey Theatre in 1913. W.B. Yeats plans to stage a play by the mystical Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. But he doesn't reckon on the disruptive antics of the young, ambitious playwright-to-be Sean O'Casey. David Pownall imagines the fireworks between the two legendary Irishmen.

Prize-winning author David Pownall was fascinated to read about Nobel laureate Tagore's visit to Dublin. Both Tagore and Yeats shared a passion for mysticism, which they incorporated into their work - with mixed results, as in Tagore's short play 'The Post Office' which Yeats here plans to stage in the Abbey Theatre. Cast and crew alike are baffled at the slight, symbolic drama, much to Yeats' exasperation.

Researching the subject, Pownall realised that at this period the unperformed young playwright Sean O'Casey would have been barking at Yeats' heels. He yearned to have a first play put on the Abbey stage. And also that if O'Casey and Tagore had met, they would have had much in common: both would be keenly aware that writing in English, rather than in their mother tongue, must change the tenor of their writing.

Putting these elements together, Pownall has come up with a 'what if' comedy : what fireworks would have occurred if all three writer had indeed collided...

This is the third recent BBC Radio Drama play featuring, or written by Sean O'Casey, on the 50th anniversary of his death. On 17th Nov Radio 3's DRAMA NOW broadcast a new production of Juno and the Paycock by the same director (Peter Kavanagh) with Sorcha Cusack, Stanley Townsend and John Kavanagh. And on the 23rd the same slot broadcast 'The Plough and the Stars'.