The Silver Tassie



  • A play by Sean O'Casey. It employs a markedly differentstyle from his previous work, moving from realism to expressionismin the second act. Owing mainly to this change of style, the AbbeyTheatre, which had produced all his earlier work, declined toproduce The Silver Tassie when O'Casey offered it to them.This rejection prompted O'Casey's decision to leave Ireland for goodand the work was premiered in 1929 in London with Charles Laughtonin the lead. For several years following his rift with the Abbey,O'Casey would not allow his work to be performed in Ireland; whenThe Silver Tassie was finally produced there in 1935, it wasattacked by both the critics and the Church.

    In the play O'Casey expresses his opposition to war throughthe experiences of two World War I soldiers, Harry Heegan and BarneyBagnal, who return home on leave from the Western Front. While thereHarry leads the local football team to win a trophy, the Silver Tassieof the title. After they return to the Front, Harry is wounded andhis life saved by Barney, who carries him to safety while still underfire. When Harry's girlfriend Jessie sees his crippled state, sheswitches her attentions to Barney, and Harry sinks into depression,smashing the Silver Tassie. Notable revivals have included the 1969RSC production with Richard Moore in the lead.