Plot[ edit ] The Hostage depicts the events leading up to the planned execution of an year-old IRA member in a Belfast jail, accused of killing a Royal Ulster Constabulary policeman. Like the protagonist of The Quare Fellow , the audience never sees him. The action of the play is set in a very odd house of ill-repute on Nelson Street , Dublin , owned by a former IRA commandant. The hostage of the title is Leslie Williams, a young and innocent Cockney British Army soldier taken hostage at the border with Northern Ireland and held in the brothel, brought among the vibrant but desperately unorthodox combination of prostitutes, revolutionaries and general low characters inhabiting the place. During the course of the play, a love story develops between Leslie and Teresa played by Marie Rafferty  a young girl, resident of the house. Both are orphans living foreign to the city they find themselves in, Teresa being from Ballymahon , County Longford.
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Set in an Irish brothel that serves as a one-night jail to a charming British soldier, The Hostage does have a lot of fun with its characters and their allegiances. Anybody might be some sort of UK spy, and songs abound to disprove that. And the crew that runs and resides in the brothel comes to like the boy quite a lot. So will they allow him to die or save his life before morning? That synopsis makes the play a little clearer than it actually plays onstage. The production I saw of this play after having read it was winning and pointed up the drama of the situation as best it could.
The obvious depressing thing happens at the end rather than as sometimes occurs in Irish Drama an unexpected even worse thing happening. On a page-by-page basis, though, there is quite a bit of humor and repartee. I found it much more entertaining than some twentieth-century playwrights who are widely considered "comic," such as Beckett and Ionesco.
I will certainly go see it staged if I ever have the opportunity. Ireland has produced a ton of great writers, but Behan is not one of them, IMO. Feb 08, Ellen rated it really liked it This being the first Behan play I have read I have to admit that I really liked it.
Both of whom are two This being the first Behan play I have read I have to admit that I really liked it. Both of whom are two innocent casualties of war on both sides of the conflict. For me this play borders on theatre of the absurd though is a little bit more coherent.
It is fast paced and quite crazy in parts with characters bursting into song at any given chance. The characters are all larger than life and quite manic but I think this works with this style of theatre. This play is all in the staging and I think Behan gives the director plenty of room for creativity and interpretation which is what makes this an exciting piece.
Good comedy is oftentimes an absolute contemporary of its production, yes, but Behan seems incapable of making any stance on his chosen issues. The beliefs he is most certain of are that the English and the Irish both consider him, Brendan Behan, to be a traitor. He makes fun of all parties involved, a few good ribs at the wealthy and the lower middle class, the religious, and yet the homosexuals, the poor, the whores, and the handicapped central character are scattered about the plot without any conscious antithetical relationship to the elevated figures of fun.
Early life[ edit ] Study from life of Brendan Behan by Reginald Gray , Egg tempera on wood panel Behan was born in the inner city of Dublin at Holles Street Hospital on 9 February into an educated working-class family. She remained politically active all her life and was a personal friend of the Irish republican Michael Collins. The title was from the affectionate nickname Mrs. Behan gave to Collins. Kathleen published her autobiography, "Mother of All The Behans", a collaboration with her son Brian, in