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The Beauty Queen of Leenane

  • Date Submitted: 03/31/2014 03:00 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.9 
  • Words: 1911
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Appreciation of a Play: Task 1 – Character Study

The play 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane', was written by Martin Mcdonagh, playwright, film-maker and screenwriter , in 1996.   The story is set in Leenane, Connemara, a small village in County Galway in the west of Ireland.   A scathing power struggle between Maureen, a forty year old virgin, and her manipulative mother, Mag, who interferes in Maureen's potentially life changing and last chance of a romance with devastating circumstances. Set in the 1990s, although at first glance the setting could be Ireland in the 1930s or 1950s, the play mixes this traditional rural ambience with the 1990s reference to Swing-ball and television shows such as Sons and Daughters, and a Country Practice.

The show begins to the sound of Ireland, Penny whistles and rain. A wonderful effect created   by The Curves designer Juliet Shillingford using real water that somehow manages to miss the front row spectators, cast and vital electrical equipment, as well as a typical west coast island cottage interior although the set felt much less claustrophobic than the impression garnered from the book.

As Maureen enters the cottage the conversation becomes a heated discussion about Mags' Complan and it soon becomes clear that Maureen feels unappreciated for the caring, fetching, carrying and cooking she provides for her mother.   “Just a blessed fecking skivvy is all I'm thought of” (McDonagh, 1996, page 3).   Mag then complains that the radio is playing nonsense.   “Why can't they speak English like everybody?” (McDonagh, 1996, page 4). Maureen argues that the Irish shouldn't be speaking English in Ireland or having to go to England for work.   This discussion ends with Maureen slopping Mags' porridge out into a bowl and telling her “Your oul and you're stupid and you don't know what you're talking about” (McDonagh 1996, page 6).   The scene ends with Maureen revealing her fantasy of bringing a murderer from Dublin home to chop off her mothers...

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