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The Insect Play


  • Playwright

    Flann O'Brien 

  • Adapted / Translated From

    Karel Capek Josef Capek

  • Author Notes

    Adapted from the brothers Čapek's "Ze života hmyzu".
  • Notes

    The original production was advertised in the press as "Rhapsody in Stephen's Green."

  • Synopsis

    Orangemen, Dubliners, Corkonians and culchies become warring ants, bees, crickets and dung-beetles in this satire of Irish stereotypes.

  • Play Type


    Number Of Acts


  • Cast Size Male


  • Cast Size Female


  • Cast Notes

    The first production also included 9 children.

Original Production

Original Cast  
Mrs. Beetle Sally Travers
A Girl Student Patricia Kennedy (1)
A Duckling Alexis Milne
A Young Bee Robert Dawson
The 2nd Engineer Ant Sean Colleary
Slattery Valentine Iremonger
Children Collette Redmond
Children Tony Mathews
Children Teddy Lucas
Children Ita McManus
Children Deirdre King
Children Dolores Lucas
Children Peggy Kennedy
Children Maeve Kennedy
Cyril Bee Antony Walsh
The Politician Ant Antony Walsh
The Duck P.P. Maguire
A Cross-Channel Ant Norman Barrs
Cecil Bee Norman Barrs
A Lady In Green Rosalind Halligan
A Young Man James Neylin
A Visitor Liam Gaffney
A Parasite Liam Gaffney
A Messenger Ant Liam Gaffney
The Keeper William Fassbender
Mr. Beetle William Fassbender
A Blind Ant William Fassbender
Her Majesty Queen Bee Betty Chancellor
Mrs. Cricket Meriel Moore
Basil Bee Cecil Monson
The Tramp Robert Hennessy (1)
Children Eileen Ashe
Mr. Cricket J. Winter
The Chief Engineer Ant J. Winter
A Strange Beetle Tyrell Pine
The Voice of the Egg Jean St. Claire
The Drone Bee Stephen King (2)
Production Team  
Director Hilton Edwards
Settings by Molly McEwen
Producer Hilton Edwards
Lighting Designer Hilton Edwards
Costume Designer Micheál Mac Liammóir
Choreographer Sara Payne
Costume Supervisor Patrick Perrott
Hats by Dodie Higgins

Published Scripts

Rights Information

  • Territory

    All Territories

  • Rights Type

    All Rights

  • Contact

    A. M. Heath & Co. Ltd.

  • Address

    6 Warwick Court,
    London, WC1R 5DJ

  • Phone

    +44 (0)20 7242 2811

  • Website

Source Of Information

The information for this entry was taken from the original production programme.