Abbey Theatre Pays Tribute To Tom Murphy
Today the Irish nation and the world theatre community comes to terms with the sad passing of one of Ireland's brilliant voices, the extraordinary playwright Tom Murphy.
'We mourn the loss of a titan of Irish Theatre, Tom Murphy. His contribution to his national theatre was immeasurable and his guidance to our organisation as playwright, colleague, board member and generous friend was incomparable.
Today is a day we all remember him. Tom was particularly generous to us in our time here as joint Directors of the Abbey Theatre. Many of the staff here have had far longer long working relationships with Tom. Our team are fondly remembering Tom's beautiful tenor voice, singsongs and fun late into the night in the Abbey bar. We are marvelling at the musicality and muscularity of Tom's work. The score of his text was so precise. Every comma, ellipses and pause had intent. The craftsmanship of his work was beyond phenomenal.
Tom Murphy had an intimate understanding of Irish identity, tackling themes of religion, emigration and redemption. His plays are imbued with a unique juxtaposition between violence and dark humour, yearning and rage. Tom was ever daring, pushing the boundaries of Irish Theatre, and challenging us with disturbing images of Irish life.
Everyone at the Abbey Theatre wishes to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife Jane and to Mary, Bennan, Johnny, Nell and to Tom's extended family and friends. He will be greatly missed.' Graham McLaren and Neil Murray - Directors of the Abbey Theatre.
Tom Murphy had a rich history at his national theatre, with 2018 marking the 50th anniversary of his first production at the Abbey Theatre - the seminal work Famine presented on the Peacock Stage in 1968.
There were 19 world premieres of Tom's original works and adaptations at the Abbey and Peacock stages. His world premieres at The Abbey include: A Crucial Week in the life of a Grocer's Assistant (1969), The Morning After Optimism (1971), The White House (1972), The Vicar of Wakefield (1974), The Sanctuary Lamp (1975), The Blue Macushla (1980), She Stoops to Conquer (1982), The Gigli Concert (1983), A Thief of a Christmas (1985), Too Late for Logic (1989), The Wake (1998), The House (2000), The Cherry Orchard (2004), The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant (2009). Along with Famine, Tom's Alice Trilogy made its Irish premier on the Peacock stage in 2006 and, Epitaph Under Ether (1979), and The Patriot Game (1991).
Other presentations of Tom's work at the Abbey include On the Outside (1974), A Whistle in the Dark (1986), Conversations on a Homecoming (1992), and Bailegangaire (2001). The Abbey toured internationally with four of his plays. There was a national tour of A Crucial Week in the life of a Grocer's Assistant (1970), as well as A Whistle in the Dark (United Kingdom, 1989), The Wake (Edinburgh, 1999), and The Gigli Concert (Australia, 2004).
In 2001, the Abbey Theatre celebrated its long collaboration with Tom, presenting a special Tom Murphy season. This presentation of five plays and a reading of Famine won special Irish Times Theatre Award. In that same year his archive was purchased by Trinity College Dublin. Tom was recently honoured with a celebration of his career at a live recording or RTÉ Radio One's Arena at the Abbey Theatre on 1 February this year.
Tom's deft ability to convey emotions of human interaction on stage has captured Abbey audiences from his first premier to the present. Tom was a truly unique voice, and his loss will be felt for generations to come.
Actor Stephen Rea will pay tribute to Tom from the Peacock Stage at the Abbey Theatre following this evening's performance of Cyprus Avenue.