Full Length Play
Adaptations (Literature), Period
Settings Of Play - Ancient Ireland. Play can be performed on a simple set that includes a few key scenic elements like a well, a wooden bed as well as a scrim curtain through which some scenes can be viewed as taking place in a distant or mysterious spiritual realm.
FEATURES / CONTAINS
Play w/ Music
Competition or audition material
Bare Stage/Simple Set
Mild Adult Themes
Appropriate for all audiences
High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
Sword Against the Sea is an adaptation of William Butler Yeats' six one-act plays and some of his most stirring poems about the Celtic hero Cuchulain. Arranged in the chronological order of Cuchulain's life and drawing exclusively on Yeats' own magnificent poetry, this two-act play presents the hero's failed attempt as a young man to achieve eternal life at the Hawk's Well; his tragic slaying of his own son and the realization that drives him in despair to fight the sea; his wife Emer's noble sacrifice to save his life by renouncing her love; and Cuchulain's death and spiritual transcendence as an aged warrior. Like the original Yeats' Cuchulain plays themselves, this adaptation calls for collaborations among different kinds of artists in the creation of masks, the use of dance and the possibility of including instrumental and sung music. These Cuchulain plays and poems are compressed, simplified, and reshaped for a rich, uplifting evening of theater.
"The innovative Sword Against the Sea...combines the beauty of Yeats's original language with a dramatic structure that makes the tales come alive on stage." - Robert Cullen, Sligo Weekender, Sligo, Ireland
Sword Against the Sea was first developed under the title Stations of Cuchulain at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in April, 1999. The play was first professionally produced in the summer of 2005 at SummerStage (now the Crossroads Repertory Theatre) in Terre Haute, Indiana.