THR 359 / ENG 447

The Plays and Films of Martin McDonagh

Fintan O'Toole

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Since he burst onto the theatre scene with The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 1996, Martin McDonagh has produced some of the most vivid, but also some of the most controversial work in contemporary drama and cinema. His plays and films are violent, lurid, transgressive and often grotesque, yet they also lend themselves to performances of great subtlety and sensitivity, like Frances McDormand’s in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. We explore McDonagh’s extreme imagination, its roots in Irish Gothic, Grand Guignol, the Grimm Brothers, Antonin Artaud and the theatre of the absurd and its uncomfortable use of race and disability.

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