The Department of Gender Studies will be hosting a public lecture entitled 'The Long Voyage Home: Eugene O'Neill and Ireland'.
Speaker: Dr Richard Hayes – Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
Date: Wednesday 23 November
Time: 16:30 till 18:00
Venue: LT1 Erin Serracino Inglott Hall, University of Malta
Eugene O'Neill, America's first important and greatest playwright, was the son of emigrants and never forgot—or was permitted to forget—his Irish roots and his family's impoverishment when first they came to America. The 'tears and blood' out of which he forged his greatest works were Irish tears—the tears, most particularly, of his long-suffering mother and of his grandmother, left alone in the United States to raise her children herself. While he never visited Ireland, he declared at one point, 'The one thing that explains more than anything about me is the fact that I'm Irish.' Certainly Irish characters populate his plays, and he was greatly influenced by an early experience of seeing the Irish Players of the Abbey Theatre perform in New York. Some of his plays concern themselves with familiar Irish preoccupations—land, inheritance, family. More than this, however, O'Neill's interest in Ireland is the interest of an emigrant son in home. This talk will consider some of Eugene O'Neill's plays, especially his plays set on or relating to the sea, as rehearsals of the story of the migrant, a story that involves a loss of homeland and a feeling of perpetual estrangement—a story that is both sociologically specific and raised symbolically to be representative of aspects of the human condition. That estrangement is gendered in interesting ways; it is a story about the mother figure, and the talk will consider some aspects of the discourse of motherhood as it appears in the migrant story constructed by O’Neill.
The general public is cordially invited to attend this public lecture. For enquiries, please feel free to contact Ms Samantha Grima by phone on +356 2340 3808 or by sending an email.
Dr Richard Hayes is Head of the School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. He is the principal investigator of the 'Performing the Region' theatre project examining theatre produced in the south-east of Ireland. Part of this study involves a consideration of the work of Eugene O'Neill whose ancestors came from this region. Dr Hayes has published extensively and spoken publicly in Ireland and abroad on American theatre, Irish theatre and poetry, as well as on Irish higher education policy.