December 27, 2009

The Road to O'Casey

A few weeks ago I finished my 11th Irish Writer painting. And a long, tortured, trail it was. Began it in November of '08 after reading and re-reading O'Casey's Three Dublin Plays, The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, and The Plough and the Stars. I was fascinated in his portrayal of Dubliners during the Rising of 1916, and his use of language just amazed me.

Here's an example:

FLUTHER: (unable to stand the slight) Fight fair! A few hundred scrawls o' chaps with a couple o' guns an' rosary beads, again' a hundred thousand throned men with horse, fut, an' artillery… an' he wants us to fight fair! (To Sergeant) D'ye want us to come out in our skins an' throw stones!

I finally settled on this passage from The Plough and the Stars for the text to place within the painting:

"You couldn't feel anyway else at a time like this when the spirit of a man is pulsing to be out fighting for th' truth with his feet trembling on the way, maybe to th' gallows, and his ears tingling with the faint, far-away sound of bursting rifle-shots that'll maybe whip th' last little shock of life out of him that's left lingerin' in his body!" (gulp!)

Some steps (and false starts) along the way...