George Shiels was a major playwright at the Abbey Theatre from 1921 to 1947. He had 23 plays premiered at the Abbey Theatre and yet he only saw one of them because he was confined to a wheel-chair following an accident while working on the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1913.
The Passing Day is a subtle and humorous study of greed. Ray Mc Anally and Pat Leavy appeared in this 1981 production, mounted to mark the centenary of the playwright’s birth. In the play, John Fibbs, is a workaholic, a skinflint and tight-fisted shopkeeper who has foregone all relaxation and pleasure in his life in order to fulfill one secret dream to go on a long cruise, “a thousand miles up the Amazon”. As he lies dying in hospital attended on by his wife (who is not exactly heartbroken at his impending demise), the detailed events of his last day in business are revealed with sardonic irony and detachment.