One of theatre’s most renowned plays, the Steward of Christendom is returning to the live stage once again. Regular showcases have been held at venues all over America for over 18 years. In 2013, the Steward of Christendom was seen being staged at facilities such as the Royal Court in London, Los Angeles Theater, Ahmanson Theater and Kirk Douglas Theater. The play has been bringing in theater lovers from all over America with its most recent shows taking place at the Mark Taper Forum. This show was presented by cast members, Brian Dennehy, James Lancaster, Mary-Pat Green, Abby Wilde, Carmela Corbett, Kalen Harriman, Grant Palmer and Dylan Saunders. Bringing in positive reviews, the Steward of Christendom tickets are always high in demand.
The Steward of Christendom
Brian Dennehy playing Thomas Dunne
Dylan Saunders playing Smith
About the Author
The forthcoming play has been written by Irish playwright and author, Sebastian Barry. His repertory consists of a large amount of poems, plays and fiction novels. His most renowned and internationally acclaimed plays include The Pentagonal Dream, White Woman Street, Our Lady of Sligo, Hinterland, Tales of Ballycumber and Andersen’s English. Born in 1955, Sebastian Barry is one of Dublin’s well celebrated playwrights. He was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and Costa Book of the Year Award in 2008 for “The Secret Scripture”. Furthermore “A Long Long Way” was nominated twice for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Watch as one of his popular plays, the Steward of Christendom is making its way to theaters once again.
Synopsis of the Play
The story of the play is based in the 1910s era. The main character of the play is Thomas Dunne, a policeman appointed as the former chief superintendent of Dublin Metropolitan Police. This character has been inspired by the author’s, great-grandfather who was in fact the chief superintendent back in that time.
The play starts off in a psychiatric facility located in a country home where Thomas Dunne is admitted after the Irish Independence. It is the year 1932 and Dunne is sitting in his chair mumbling incoherently as he experiences childhood flashbacks. Throughout the first quarter of the play, the main character is seen having moments of lucidity to experiencing flashbacks time and again. As Dunne relives his life as a senior police officer he is reminded of his time at the Dublin Castle in 1922 and his family that consists of his daughters, Dolly, Maud and Annie and his son, Willie who was killed during WWI. Thomas Dunne is visited by the ghost of his deceased son who appears dressed up in the uniform of a soldier.
The play also shows two attendants who reside in the country home and take care of the patients. The attendants namely Smith and Mrs. O’Dea first seem to criticize Dunne’s role during his tenure in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, however, they warm up to him after reading a letter written by his son. Throughout the play, Thomas Dunne is seen reliving his dramatized memories. These memories are associated with explanations regarding Dunne’s past decision and loyalties, as he prays for redemption. The event that led to Dunne’s mental deterioration is also depicted and the story moves back and forth as the character lives a dual life.
Reception of the Play
The Steward of Christendom is popular for its dialogues and quotes that have received much appreciation. Quotes such as “A soldier doesn’t always make a good policeman. There’s too much sorrow in a soldier” portrays the sacrifices made by them during the World Wars. Somehow paying tribute to these courageous men, the Steward of Christendom is a must-watch as it allows audiences to live in the shoes of these men. Critic organizations and publications such as the Hollywood Reporter, the Independent, Chicago Reader and Theater Mania have appreciated the intensity and balance the character of Thomas Dunne showcases, even during his days in the psychiatric country house. Overall the play is described as a pleasant treat for performing arts’ enthusiasts.