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Thomas Kilroy Biography

(1934– ), The Door, The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche, The O'Neill

play university irish college

Irish playwright and novelist, born in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, educated at University College, Dublin. From 1962 to 1965 Kilroy taught at various American universities, then returned to Ireland and lectured in English at University College, Dublin. In 1977 he was appointed play editor of the Abbey Theatre, and from 1979 to 1989 he was Professor of English at University College, Galway. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for Literature and a member of the Irish Academy of Letters. Kilroy's first play, The Door, was broadcast by the BBC in 1967. His first important work, The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche (1968), presents the economic, cultural, and spiritual failure of Irish society in the late 1960s through the tale of a group of drunken bachelors who apparently murder the enigmatic ‘Mr. Roche’. After the production of The O'Neill (1969), Kilroy turned successfully to fiction with The Big Chapel (1971), a novel which recreates anti-clerical riots that occurred in Kilkenny in the nineteenth century. Kilroy returned to drama with Tea and Sex and Shakespeare (1976), followed by Talbot's Box (1977). His radio play That Man, Bracken, broadcast by the BBC in 1986, led to the stage play Double Cross (1986), which compares the lives of two Irishmen, Brendan Bracken and William Joyce, and examines the relationship between the act of treason and the idea of personal identity. The Madame McAdam Travelling Show was produced in 1991, and Gold in the Streets in 1993.

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