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The Arts Council Playography Na Gaeilge


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The Scythe and the Sunset


  • Playwright

    Denis Johnston 

  • Setting

    Set in a cafe in Dublin during Easter Week of 1916.

  • Synopsis

    Johnston wrote this play about the Rising of 1916 as an alternative view to O'Casey's pacifism in The Plough and the Stars - hence DJ's parodic title. It takes place in a cafe overlooking O'Connell Street where the rebels seize the General Post Office. An Irish officer with the British troops sent to suppress the rebellion is confronted by one of the rebel leaders, modeled on Patrick Pearse. Together they spar over the destiny of Ireland and the British Empire, and the clash of ideals that lay at the heart of the conflict. A young rebel and the cafe waitress present very different views of the populace towards the rebellion. Another character, a doctor, who is present by chance and serves as an observer to the action is modeled on Oliver St John Gogarty.

  • Play Type

    Plays General

    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


Original Production

  • Date of First Production

    14 March 1958

  • Production Notes

    Produced by the Poets' Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Producer

  • Original Venue

  • Venue Notes

    Premiered at the Poets' Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • Irish Premiere Notes

    Subsequently produced in the Queens Theatre, Dublin by the Abbey Theatre on 19th May 1958.

Original Cast  
Dr. Myles McCarthy John Frid
Capt. Clattering John A. Coe
Capt. Anthony Palliser John Lasell
Liam O'Callaghan Edmund Roche
J. Williams Jack Rodgers
Sean Tetley Judge Springer
Endymion Michael Linenthal
Michael Maginnis Ray Girardin Jnr.
Emer NicGabhann Susan McClintock
Roisin Catherine Ahern
Volunteer John King
Production Team  
Settings by Nyna Brael
Produced by Wiliiam Driver

Published Scripts

  • Title

    Denis Johnston : Selected Plays

  • Year


  • Published By

    Catholic University of America Press

  • Address


  • ISBN


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Rights Information

  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    Micheal Johnston

  • Address

    20 Burdett Avenue, Sandycove
    Co. Dublin
    Republic of Ireland

Source Of Information

The information for this entry was taken from the published playscript and other published material.