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Ghost Light

by Joseph O'Connor

The story of Molly Allgood, a young Irish actor who becomes romantically involved and secretly engaged to the playwright John Synge. Molly has huge success in her youth but falls on hard times in old age and remembers her past love and triumphs. In parts desperately sad but Molly’s passion for life and her memories of Synge and her acting talent make this an inspiring read.

Extract

It is not easy for an actress once she has passed a certain age to secure a role commensurate with her training. The parts are too few. It is that simple and inescapable. Not in Shakespeare, not in Ibsen, not in Shaw nor in Chekhov. She wonders, recrossing Queensway, whether any of the blockheads had mothers. Did they never once glance up from their inks and their parchments, their grubby little fingerprints besmirching the margins, seagulls of their own inadequacy flitting madly in the rafters, and notice their was an elderly woman moving about in the room, probably preparing their lunch? An old male actor will always find something: a laird, a kindly king, the decrepit twit of the village, a blacksmith with an announcement, a butler in Wilde, the priest brought by night to marry ill-starred lovers whose families would keep them apart. But for a woman, once she has offended by outliving the age of childbirth, the roles disappear as honeybees in winter.

Parallels

The Dubliners by James Joyce
 

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