September 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Sean O’Casey’s death. It’s not an unusual occurrence for the Abbey Theatre to stage an O’Casey play. However on 21 December 1973 roles were reversed when the Abbey Theatre staff took to the stage in a performance of The Shadow of a Gunman. This is the programme for the evening signed by some of the cast.
This one off late night production on the Peacock stage had an invited audience of professional actors with special guest, Mrs Eileen O’Casey, widow of Sean. While the backroom boys and girls were centre stage, the Company actors were the programme sellers and ushers for the occasion before taking their seats for the performance. The cast includes General Manager, John Slemon, Lights men Leslie Scott, Tony Wakefield and Michael Doyle, Wardrobe Mistress, Lily Norton, Stage door man, Al Kohler, Stage Manager Ronan Woodcock and Sound Operator, Nuala Golden. The production was ably directed by Production Manager, Brian Collins.
The performance made a lasting impact; in An Irishman’s Diary from the following year, Quidnunc (Patrick Campbell’s pseudonym) noted that he’d personally like to see a revival of this production!