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Copperfaced Jack


  • Playwright

    John O'Donovan (1) 

  • Synopsis

    It is 1798 in Dublin and corruption in the legal profession is rife. John Scott(Lord Clonmel), the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland is nicknamed 'the hanging judge' and 'Copperfaced Jack', the latter because of the colour of his face - the result of too much brandy drinking. In a series of flashbacks, with fleeting moments of conscience about his corruption the Judge reassesses his life, where we see the pathetic case of Fennessy, sentenced to death for sheep stealing, who has to build his own coffin to earn some money to send to his family; the battle with the Attorney General over the condemned rebel leader, Peter Shanks; a transient love affair with the mother of a condemned man.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


Original Production

Original Cast  
Viola Geraldine Plunkett
Governor of Newgate Philip O'Flynn
Kehoe Breandán Ó Dúill
Mrs. Eliza Shanks Brid Lynch
Peter Shanks Vincent Dowling
Mary Neale Fidelma Murphy
Doyle Eoin Ó Súilleabháin
Murphy Anthony Hennigan
Chaplain Michael O'Rourke
Turnkey Seán Sharkey
John Scott Micheál Ó hAonghusa
Fennessy Micheál Ó Briain
Brian Boro Pat Laffan
Turnkey Des Cave
Rosalind Angela Newman
Bessie Máire Ní Dhomhnaill
Jack Galvin Harry Brogan
Arthur Wolfe Bill Foley
Turnkey Clive Geraghty
Palmer Edward Golden
Milligan Geoff Golden
Turnkey Brian Fox
Production Team  
Settings by Tomás Mac Anna
Produced by Ria Mooney

Published Scripts

  • Title

    Seven Irish Plays, 1946-1964

  • Year


  • Published By

    University of Minnesota Press

  • Address

    Suite 290, 111 Third Avenue South
    MN 55401

  • Phone

    +1 612-627-1970

  • Email

  • Website

Rights Information

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Source Of Information

The information for this entry was taken from published material.